Members of the United States military are now required by the Pentagon to get the COVID vaccine; they have until September 15 to get fully vaccinated. According to a memo sent to all employees of the Department of Defense, all military troops are now required by the Pentagon to get COVID vaccine.
The memo distributed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also mentioned that the deadline to get vaccinated could also be moved sooner; this is depending on the spread of the virus and the developments in relation to the approval of the vaccine.
Breaking News: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will seek to order mandatory coronavirus vaccines for 1.3 million active duty U.S. troops by mid-September, administration officials said on Monday. https://t.co/BUeIyljH37
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 9, 2021
The Secretary of Defense will be asking for the approval of the president
In the memo sent out to military troops on Monday, Austin stated that he will be seeking the approval of the president to make the COVID vaccine mandatory for military troops no later than in the middle of September or right after the approval of the FDA, whichever comes sooner.
The Secretary of Defense also added that he will not hesitate to act more promptly or recommend another course of action to the president if he feels like there is a need to do so. Austin later emphasized that healthy and ready military troops are needed in order to defend the country.
In early September, the Pfizer vaccine is anticipated to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. If the approval does not happen, the Defense Secretary could ask for a presidential waiver to require the military troops to have the vaccine.
In addition to this, Austin also urged all employees to get the COVID vaccine right away, regardless of whether or not it will be required. He said in a statement that he strongly urges all Department of Defense civilians and military personnel (as well as contractor personnel) to get vaccinated now and not wait for the mandate to get implemented.
Biden strongly supports the Secretary of Defense
In a statement issued Monday afternoon, Biden validated the idea of the COVID vaccine mandate. Biden said he strongly supports Austin’s statement given to the military force today to add COVID-19 vaccination as a requirement for U.S. servicemembers.
— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) August 9, 2021
Biden also noted that the Secretary of Defense and himself both share the same commitment; this commitment is supposedly in ensuring that all of the U.S. military troops have the tools that they need in order to get their jobs done as safely as possible.
So far, over 74% of the Navy have already received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. However, other branches of the military fall behind with 65% in Air Force and 60% in Air Force reserves. On the other hand, in the Army, there are only around 50% of servicemembers who had at least one shot.