J&J Vaccine Problems Impede U.S. Military Vaccination Overseas

J&J vaccine problems impede U.S. military vaccination overseas
Army health experts fill syringes with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Miami, March 9, 2021. Photo by M...

According to U.S. military officials, recent issues with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have made military vaccination abroad more difficult to provide, as well as vaccines that have been given to service members’ families or other tier two beneficiaries in just 40% of military locations outside the United States.

At a Pentagon press conference, they stated they are compensating for the Johnson & Johnson shortage by exporting more Moderna vaccines to forces outside the U.S. The cold temperature and other conditions for the Pfizer vaccine make shipping it overseas more complex.

Last month, Johnson & Johnson had to recall 15 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine because of a batch that did not meet quality standards. The pentagon was very concerned about the vaccine shortage because it had chosen the Johnson & Johnson shot for supply overseas because it only needs one injection and does not need the strict temperature restrictions that some other vaccines do.

Army Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, said that the department will begin providing vaccines to all qualifying troops, family members, and other beneficiaries by April 19, based on President Biden’s new guidelines for all adults.

Some troops and their families stationed abroad have expressed frustration with their inability to obtain a vaccine, particularly because many are in regions, including Europe, that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Place, in many locations, vaccinations are now only available to tier one people, such as deployed soldiers, health workers, and beneficiaries 65 and older.

He also stated that, even though only 7% of the qualifying Defense Department population lives outside the United States, the Pentagon is sending 14% of the doses to overseas locations.

“That said, if you’re a service member stationed overseas or a family member, likewise stationed overseas, and you haven’t received a vaccine and you don’t know when you’ll be able to, these numbers mean nothing,” said Place. “And it’s understandably frustrating.”

Place estimates that by the middle of May, they will provide at least an initial dose to every qualifying Defense Department individual overseas who requests one.

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According to National Guard officials, almost 18 percent of their troops, or over 76,000 people, have been fully vaccinated, and another 111,000 have received at least one injection. Guard forces are also helping to distribute the vaccine in several states, especially in more distant areas.

Over 2,200 guard workers are delivering vaccines at 1,000 different locations, including mobile vaccination centers. Guard officials have sent 6 million shots to civilians around the world as of this week.

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Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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