U.S. service members are refusing or putting off the COVID-19 vaccine by the thousands, as frustrated commanders scramble to knock down internet rumors and find the right pitch that will persuade troops to get the shot. (Feb. 17)
JOHN KIRBY: We've administered 88.2% of vaccines on hand as of today. So we've had more than a million doses delivered to the Defense Department, 1,039,665 to be exact, and we've administered 916,575. And we expect by Friday-- by the end of the week-- to be over the one million mark.
I hear the argument that you don't get all the data that you think we should have, or what. But this is data that we have put out before, doses delivered and doses administered. And of those, I can update you, if you want. The initial dose is 644,762. That's the number of people that have had one. And 271,813 individuals in the department have received their second dose.
Nobody's hiding data. There'd be no reason for us to hide data when we can certainly tell you exactly how many people are getting the vaccines. If there's something more to what my understanding is of what was testified today, I promise you I will get it to you. But nobody's trying to hide anything here. It's in our interest to be as open and as transparent as we can, and we're trying to do that.
People-- it's a voluntary vaccine. People decide for themselves if they want it or not, and we have to respect that decision-making process. And while I understand the thirst for data, I hope you'll understand our obligations to make it available to as many members of the military and their families as we can, as possible. We're going through a very phased approach to do that.