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J&J vaccine problems hamper U.S. military vaccines overseas

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U.S. military leaders in WASHINGTON said on Thursday that recent problems with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have made it more difficult to deliver vaccines to forces overseas, and vaccines have been offered to military families or others. level two recipients in only 40% of the military. locations outside the United States

Speaking at a Pentagon press conference, they said they were making up for Johnson & Johnson’s deficit by shipping more Moderna vaccines to forces outside the country. Cold weather and other requirements for the Pfizer vaccine make it more difficult to ship overseas.

Johnson & Johnson had to throw away 15 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine last month because the batch did not meet quality standards. The loss of expected vaccines was a bigger problem for the military as it had targeted the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for overseas distribution as it only requires a single dose and does not need temperature checks strict that others do.

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Army Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, told reporters that, based on President Joe Biden’s latest guidelines for all adults, the department will begin offering vaccines to all. eligible troops, family members and other beneficiaries by April 19. .

Some troops and their families abroad have expressed frustration over their inability to get vaccinated, especially since many are in areas, including Europe, which have been hit hard by the COVID pandemic. 19. Place said that in many places, vaccines are still only offered to first-level people, which include deployed troops, health or emergency workers, and beneficiaries aged 65 and over.

He added that while only 7% of the Defense Department’s eligible population is outside the United States, the Pentagon ships 14% of the doses it receives overseas.

However, if you are a member of the service stationed abroad or a family member, also stationed abroad, and you have not received a vaccine and you do not know when to get it. be able, those numbers mean nothing, Place said. And that’s understandably frustrating.

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Place said he expects to be able to provide at least an initial dose to every eligible Defense Department person overseas who wants one by mid-May.

Military officials from all services have said they are seeing an increase in the rate of those agreeing to be vaccinated.

In mid-February, military officials said thousands of servicemen were refusing or postponing the COVID-19 vaccine, prompting Defense officials to redouble their efforts to brief troops on the shooting, which is strictly volunteers.

Over time, however, Place said the acceptance rate was increasing, although the Pentagon did not provide figures and said it did not collect data on those who opt out of the vaccine.

We continue to see many people who were taking a wait-and-see approach now coming forward for the vaccine, he said.

National Guard leaders said Thursday that nearly 18% of their forces – more than 76,000 people had been fully vaccinated, and 111,000 others had received at least one vaccine. Guard troops are also working in many states to help deliver the vaccine, especially to more remote or underserved locations.

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There are more than 2,200 wardens at 1,000 different sites, including mobile vaccination centers, who provide vaccines. As of that week, members of the Guard had administered 6 million shots to people across the country.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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