1. SOUNDBITE (English) John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary:
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, one million thirty-nine thousand and six hundred and sixty-five, 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."
2. SOUNDBITE (English) John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary:
"I hear that the argument that you don't get all the data that you think we should have or what, but this is this is data that we have we have put out before, doses delivered in 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."
3. SOUNDBITE (English) John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary:
"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 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."
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.
Some Army units are seeing as few as one-third agree to the vaccine.
Military leaders searching for answers believe they have identified one potential convincer: an imminent deployment.
Navy sailors on ships heading out to sea last week, for example, were choosing to take the shot at rates exceeding 80% to 90%.
Air Force Maj. Gen. Jeff Taliaferro, vice director of operations for the Joint Staff, told Congress on Wednesday that "very early data" suggests that just up to two-thirds of the service members offered the vaccine have accepted.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby briefing reporters Wednesday said, "We've administered 88.2 percent of vaccines on hand as of today."
He added "we've administered 916,575. And we expect by Friday, by the end of the week, to be over the one million mark."
That's higher than the rate for the general population, which a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation put at roughly 50%.
But the significant number of forces declining the vaccine is especially worrisome because troops often live, work and fight closely together in environments where social distancing and wearing masks, at times, are difficult.
The military's resistance also comes as troops are deploying to administer shots at vaccination centers around the country and as leaders look to American forces to set an example for the nation.
Service leaders have vigorously campaigned for the vaccine.
They have held town halls, written messages to the force, distributed scientific data, posted videos, and even put out photos of leaders getting vaccinated.
For weeks, the Pentagon insisted it did not know how many troops were declining the vaccine.
On Wednesday they provided few details on their early data.
"It's in our interest to be as open and transparent as we can. And we're trying to do that. It's a voluntary vaccine. People decide for themselves if they want it or not," Kirby said.
Officials from individual military services, however, said in interviews with The Associated Press that refusal rates vary widely, depending on a service member's age, unit, location, deployment status and other intangibles.
During the briefing a reporter asked if data on service members getting the vaccine was being held back by the Department of Defense.
"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," Kirby said.