While the Department of Defense has administered at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to nearly 600,000 personnel, officials say all DOD beneficiaries will be eligible by early summer.

“Based on the projections that we have, both supply side and vaccination side, we do fully expect to be open to all of our DOD eligible populations on or before the first of May,” said Army Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency. “At current uptake rates for those who want to get it, we think by the middle of July or so the department will be vaccinated.”

According to a DOD press release, nearly 3,000 military personnel have been deployed to assist FEMA-led community vaccination sites in the United States. Globally, the defense health system is administering doses from 343 vaccination sites.

Three COVID-19 vaccines are currently available: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Terry Adirim said that all three have “shown through rigorous clinical trials to be safe and effective,” adding that Johnson and Johnson has “unique advantages.”

“It [Johnson and Johnson] doesn’t require that cold chain requirement and second only requires one dose, all of which make its efficacy… the actual effectiveness at the operational force to be greater. So we think this is a better vaccine for the circumstances in those austere environments,” said Adirim.

Photo By Kerri Spero