Cal Guard helps launch mega-vaccination sites

Two federally-supported sites open in Golden State

by C. Todd Lopez
DoD News

Feb. 23, 2021

Two federally-supported COVID-19 vaccination sites have opened in California — one in Los Angeles and the other in Oakland. While the Oakland site is primarily supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the site in Los Angeles is staffed by active-duty U.S. military personnel and both sites are being worked by service members from the California National Guard.

Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, said the community vaccination center at California State University Los Angeles is impressive.

"All along we worked with FEMA and the department," he said during a teleconference on Tuesday. "The target goal for this site was 16 February, and that was delivered on. The site is ramping up quickly ... it'll get towards 6,000 vaccinations per day."

VanHerck said the site in Los Angeles — where people will be able to get COVID-19 vaccinations from active-duty military personnel — is a Type site capable of administering as many as 6,000 vaccinations a day. The site is supported by a 222-person Type 1 team consisting of active-duty Army personnel who administer vaccinations and provide supervisory and pharmacy support.

In all, VanHerck said, FEMA has asked the Defense Department for as many as 50 Type 1 teams to man similar sites that may open in the future, as well as 50 Type 2 teams. A Type 2 team consists of about 139 personnel and can administer 3,000 vaccinations per day.

Right now, the department has identified personnel to man 25 teams, including five Type 1 teams in tranche 1 and 10 of each type of team in tranche 2. So far, the Type 1 team manning the vaccination site in Los Angeles, is the only one that has been deployed; the other 24 teams are on prepare-to-deploy orders.

"They haven't been given a tasking to deploy at this time," VanHerck said.

The sites in Los Angeles and Oakland are only the first. Additional sites are planned in Texas and New York, VanHerck said.

A 222-person Air Force Type 1 team will support a community vaccination center in Houston, while a 139-person Army Type 2 team will support a facility at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas. In Arlington, Texas, a 139-person Marine Corps Type 2 team will support community vaccinations at the AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park. All those sites should be running by Feb. 24, the general said.

In addition, about 280 service members will arrive Friday to support two centers in New York City. It's expected that a 139-person Navy Type 2 team will support a community vaccination center at York College in Queens, while a 139-person Air Force Type 2 team will support a community vaccination center at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. Those sites are also expected to be ready by Feb. 24, VanHerck said.

Robert J. Fenton Jr., the senior official performing the duties of FEMA administrator, said the two pilot sites in California and the follow-on sites in Texas and New York are designed to augment those states' vaccination efforts.

"We are committed to ensuring everyone who wants a vaccination can get one," he said.


Three service members talk to one another.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Scott Crandell, right, of the California Air National Guard’s 163d Attack Wing and currently serving as executive officer of the Cal Guard’s Joint Task Force Mustang and U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Robert Hammersley, senior enlisted advisor of the task force, are briefed about operations at the walk-up section of the COVID-19 vaccine mega point of distribution site at the California State University campus in Los Angeles, Feb. 15, 2021. The site was selected for its close proximity to public transportation. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Neil Mabini)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Scott Crandell, right, of the California Air National Guard’s 163d Attack Wing and currently serving as executive officer of the Cal Guard’s Joint Task Force Mustang and U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Robert Hammersley, senior enlisted advisor of the task force, are briefed about operations at the walk-up section of the COVID-19 vaccine mega point of distribution site at the California State University campus in Los Angeles, Feb. 15, 2021. The site was selected for its close proximity to public transportation. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Neil Mabini)

“The site is ramping up quickly ... it'll get towards 6,000 vaccinations per day.”
Gen. Glen D. VanHerck
Soldier talks to driver of a car.

U.S. Army Spc. Joshua Page, a petroleum supply specialist with 40th Infantry Division, California National Guard, inprocesses a community member to receive a vaccine against COVID-19 at California State University, Los Angeles, Feb. 17. California National Guard Airmen and Soldiers were activated to provide support to the first joint federal and state mass vaccination site instituted by the Biden administration. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Simone Lara)

U.S. Army Spc. Joshua Page, a petroleum supply specialist with 40th Infantry Division, California National Guard, inprocesses a community member to receive a vaccine against COVID-19 at California State University, Los Angeles, Feb. 17. California National Guard Airmen and Soldiers were activated to provide support to the first joint federal and state mass vaccination site instituted by the Biden administration. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Simone Lara)

“We are committed to ensuring everyone who wants a vaccination can get one.”
Robert J. Fenton Jr.
Two men talk to each other.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, right, the adjutant general of the California Military Department, speaks with Robert J. Fenton Jr., acting administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), at the California State University campus in Los Angeles, Feb. 16, 2021, on the opening day of the COVID-19 vaccine mega point of distribution site. The site is one of the first FEMA-led responses to the pandemic that include federal, state, active duty military and National Guard members working together. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Neil Mabini)

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, right, the adjutant general of the California Military Department, speaks with Robert J. Fenton Jr., acting administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), at the California State University campus in Los Angeles, Feb. 16, 2021, on the opening day of the COVID-19 vaccine mega point of distribution site. The site is one of the first FEMA-led responses to the pandemic that include federal, state, active duty military and National Guard members working together. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Neil Mabini)