As part of Operation Warp Speed’s mission to develop and distribute COVID-19 vaccine, Defense Logistics Agency Distribution began shipping Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Defense Department employees outside the continental U.S., the deployed U.S. Navy Fleet and a limited number of locations within the continental U.S., Dec. 22.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the DLA Distribution team. They’re working tirelessly to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible while maintaining the -20 degrees Celsius temperature required to sustain the vaccine’s validity,” DLA Distribution Commander Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Keith D. Reventlow said.

As the Defense Department’s storage and distribution provider, DLA Distribution has six U.S.-based and four overseas distribution centers capable of handling the temperature-sensitive cargo. While DLA Distribution has delivered the seasonal flu vaccine to the military for 20 years, the COVID-19 vaccine mission requires additional measures to sustain the proper temperature. Refrigerated trucks, dry-ice, gel packs, specialized cold-chain management training for employees and specialized cold gear including insulated suits, gloves, face masks and boots are provided for employees to wear while working with the shipments inside the temperature-controlled storage containers.

Initial Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and ancillary kit shipments containing gloves, needles, syringes, alcohol wipes, sharps containers, band aids, gauze and tape have successfully arrived at three U.S. Forces Korea locations, Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan, Naval Base Health Clinic Bahrain, three DoD locations in Germany, two in Belgium and several locations within the continental U.S. Medical staff and other key personnel are now being inoculated during the initial distribution. Patients will be administered two identical doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, separated by 28 days, in accordance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and manufacturer medical guidelines.