Sep 29 05:52 PM US/Eastern
By LOLITA C. BALDOR
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. military troops will begin getting required swine flu shots in the next week to 10 days, with active duty forces deploying to war zones and other critical areas going to the front of the vaccine line, a top military commander said Tuesday.Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart also told The Associated Press that as many as 400 troops are ready to go to five regional headquarters around the country to assist federal health and emergency management officials if needed as the flu season heats up.
The Pentagon has bought 2.7 million vaccines, and 1.4 million of those will go to active duty military. National Guard troops on active duty are also required to receive the vaccine, as are civilian Defense Department employees who are in critical jobs.
As a result, the military is expected to provide health officials with an early assessment of the vaccine.
“Because I can compel people to get the shots, larger numbers will have the vaccine,” said Renuart, commander of U.S. Northern Command. “They will, as a percentage of the population, be vaccinated more rapidly than many of us. So we may see some objective results, good or not, of the vaccinations.”