US to deploy over 1,000 troops to boost inoculation efforts

National Guard members assist people at a COVID-19 vaccination center at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, the United States.

Washington, (Asian independent) The US government will deploy more than 1,000 troops across the country in an effort to boost the vaccination drive against the novel coronavirus.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the troops’ deployment, Xinhua news agency quoted Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to the White House’s Coronavirus Response Team, as saying at a news conference on Friday.

Part of the first contingent of more than 1,000 troops will arrive at vaccination centres in California over the next 10 days and begin operations around February 15, Slavitt said.

President Joe Biden has called for setting up 100 mass vaccination centres around the country within a month.

His national vaccination campaign aims to administer 100 million doses of two-stage coronavirus vaccines in his first 100 days.

The spreading of multiple new coronavirus strains in the country has increased the urgency for the US to accelerate the pace of vaccinations.

A total of 546 infection cases of coronavirus variants had been reported in at least 33 US states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The US has distributed about 57.4 million vaccine doses, but only about 35.2 million have been administered as of Thursday morning.

In its latest update on Saturday morning, the Johns Hopkins University revealed that the country’s overall caseload and death toll stood at 26,804,927 and 459,278, respectively.

January 2021 was by far the deadliest month of the pandemic in the country, with over 95,000 Covid-19 deaths, surpassing December 2020’s total of over 77,000 deaths.