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Progress: Pentagon’s vaccination efforts are needed boost

If we agree we are at war against the spread of COVID-19 — and we are — it is good to know the Pentagon is sending out more than 1,100 troops to the first five mass vaccination centers planned by the Biden administration.

Perhaps they are taking some cues from how well the National Guard handled its deployment for similar work in places such as West Virginia. Eventually the Federal Emergency Management Agency is hoping for as many as 10,000 troops staffing 100 centers across the country.

Meanwhile the National Guard is also hoping to boost its efforts, with leadership considering training additional Guard members to give shots, so they can expand vaccinations in more remote and rural portions of their states. (Those centralized mass vaccination centers won’t be accessible to everyone).

“If we reach the point where we’ve fully implemented all of our folks who can (give shots), then they’re looking at potential training opportunities if we’re going to need more than that,” said Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau. “We’re going to do everything to make a difference and meet whatever that need is.”

Perhaps you’ve seen the military recruitment commercials featuring various service members in super hero-style roles like “virus hunter.” Last week’s roll out reminds us that is not just a silly advertising gimmick. The men and women of our armed forces might be arming themselves with personal protective equipment and syringes right now, but they are still sacrificing their own wellbeing to serve and defend the rest of us from an enemy that has already taken nearly half a million American lives.

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