10:31 GMT22 September 2020
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    Senior US government health officials on Friday revealed that US military medical personnel or National Guard troops may assist mass vaccination efforts once a COVID-19 vaccine is available to the public.

    According to Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), localities are strategizing on how pharmacies could potentially be used as distribution points and how mass inoculation centers might be established using military support.

    “We are not going to take anything off of the table,” Redfield said during a press call on Friday, Military.com reported. “There is the potential for jurisdictions to want assistance from the National Guard or the military. The military is clearly providing a lead role in [the] logistics of all of this.”

    According to Brig. Gen. Nick Ducich, there are currently almost 20,000 National Guard personnel that are aiding COVID-19 response efforts across the US by supporting test sites, cleaning testing facilities and distributing food. 

    In addition, during the height of the nation’s pandemic response, more than 40,000 US military personnel established temporary hospital facilities in places such as New York City, as well as working aboard Navy hospital ships and in various communities. 

    As of Friday, around 740 military medical and administrative support personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force were supporting response efforts in community medical centers in California and Texas.

    Earlier this month, the Defense Department announced that it, along with McKesson Corporation, an American company that distributes pharmaceuticals and provides health information technology and medical supplies, will act as the main distributor for future COVID-19 vaccines. During the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza pandemic, McKesson also distributed vaccines, Military.com reported.

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    COVID-19, troops, US
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