When a COVID-19 vaccine is ready, President Donald Trump has said, the U.S. military will deliver doses throughout the country at a rate of “200,000 a day.”
But that plan fails to account for military limitations as well as the impact of the pandemic, says Stephen Flynn, founding director of the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern, who served as a national security and Homeland Security advisor to four presidential administrations on both sides of the aisle.
“It’s not going to work well,” Flynn says of relying on the military to dispense a vaccine. “And here’s why: There is a last-mile problem.” Flynn believes the armed forces could help transport a vaccine to regions of the country, and the National Guard could be mobilized to bring it to cities and towns—but the military lacks the capability to distribute it within communities.
“This is all local heavy lifting,” Flynn says. “We have to invest in the capacity at the local level.”