Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Thomas McCaffery announced Wednesday that the Pentagon is expected to receive “just under 44,000 doses” for its staff and senior leadership, CNN reported.
A small number of those among the Pentagon’s senior leadership will receive the vaccine during the earliest part of the vaccine’s distribution in order to promote the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) personnel, according to CNN. In DOD’s distribution of the vaccine, which CNN reported Tuesday, the department plans on prioritizing medical personnel and those in positions relating to “critical national capabilities.”
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Among those that will first receive the vaccine are nuclear deterrence force, homeland defense forces, select Special Operations Command and Cyber Command units, CNN reported.
“Of those 44,000 a huge majority will be for first responders, critical healthcare people and a very very limited number to critical national capabilities in this first tranche,” Defense Health Agency director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place said according to CNN. (RELATED: Everyone Who Gets Coronavirus Vaccine Will Receive Vaccination Card, US Health Officials Say)
“In the coming days, we expect the department to receive its first allotment of the vaccine,” McCaffery told reporters Wednesday at the Pentagon.
Most of the Pentagon’s leadership will receive the vaccine after the coronavirus is distributed to these key personnel members. McCaffery said those among the Pentagon’s leadership being considered to receive the vaccine early are Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, Deputy Secretary David Norquist, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten, and the senior enlisted adviser to the Joint Staff, according to CNN.
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“We do intend as part of this initial phase of healthcare workers, emergency responders, et cetera, have some very small set of very visible leaders that will volunteer to take the vaccine, do it in a public way as one way of helping to message the safety and efficacy and underscore that we are encouraging all those eligible personnel to take the vaccine,” McCaffery said, according to CNN.
The DOD is the nation’s largest employer, according to the Department’s website. It boasts more than 2.8 million total employees, including 1.3 million active-duty troops, CNN reported.