The U.S. Air Force has announced on Saturday that the first boxes with Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to Yokota Air Base, Japan.
The details were given in a 26 December media release, to announce that after rigorous testing and trials demonstrating the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of a COVID-19 vaccine via an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
Since authorization, the Department of Defense has worked hand in hand with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Center for Disease Control (CDC), to allocate initial vaccine doses to jurisdictions based on the DoD distribution plan released Dec. 9.
“Today, we received 800 doses and our plan to administer them is working through a structured tier system, which will make sure to prioritize our people appropriately,” said Capt. Alexander Tran, 374th Medical Group chief of in-patient pharmacy services. “This stratification will initially include first responders, public safety personnel and the healthcare workers who are able and opting-in to receive the vaccine.”
Though vaccination has begun, DoD personnel will continue to wear appropriate masks, practice physical distancing, wash hands, and follow the public health emergency declaration to ensure and maintain safety.
“We’re currently trying to live out of a new normal, the COVID vaccine just helps us get to a better new normal,” said Tran. “If we can be immunized and protected even more, then the possibility of reducing any severe symptoms of COVID for any of our base population is something that we want to aim towards, and this vaccine will help us to get there.”
The DoD continues to work closely with the HHS and the CDC on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The end-state is that the DoD is able to reduce the burden of COVID-19 disease in high-risk populations and simultaneously mitigate risk to military operations.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Defense and Pfizer Inc. announced on 23 December an agreement worth about $2 billion for the production of vaccine BNT162b2 in support of the national emergency response to COVID-19.
Also noted that work will be performed in New York, New York, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 22, 2022.