The Department of Defense announced an upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all members of the US military. In a memo issued by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, all troops have until September 15th to voluntarily comply with their coronavirus vaccinations. Otherwise, the DoD will issue a vaccine mandate.
Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Expects To Receive Full Approval
In addition, the Pentagon might shorten the deadline to issue a mandate if the US Food and Drug Administration will issue full approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Industry experts expect the FDA to issue the approval early next month. In the meantime, the military will have the next few weeks to prepare for the transition.
With the recent resurgence of coronavirus across the US, President Joe Biden announced that all federal employees will need to show proof of vaccination. For employees who cannot produce proof, or continually refuse the vaccination, will need to wear a mask and socially distance themselves when at work.
Biden Commends Military’s Vaccine Mandate
In a statement issued by the White House last Monday, the President commended the vaccine mandate issued by Austin. “I am proud that our military women and men will continue to help lead the charge in the fight against this pandemic, as they so often do, by setting the example of keeping their fellow Americans safe,” he said.
As of early August, more than a million military troops already completed their COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, another 237,000 received the initial dose. According to the Defense Department, the US Army has the most number of vaccinated service members. However, the Navy and the Air Force are close behind.
Vaccine Mandates Are Nothing New
Vaccine mandates are not a new trend in military circles. According to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, US troops received multiple vaccines since they started basic training. According to The Associated Press, troops already have to receive as many as 17 vaccines, depending on where they are in the world.
Milley also urged service members to reach out to leaders if they have questions about the vaccines. Medical providers can also address any questions regarding vaccine side effects.
He also asked service members to get their shots as soon as possible. “If you have taken the vaccine, thank you. If you have not yet taken the vaccine, please do so to protect yourself and those around you,” he said.
Vaccine Mandate No Later Than Mid-September
In his memo, Austin said that he will “seek the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon [FDA approval] whichever comes first.”
In addition, the Defense chief said he will be monitoring the infection rates closely. He said he won’t and won’t hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the president if he feels the need to do so.
“To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force,” he added. In case the Pfizer vaccine will not receive full approval, Austin might seek a presidential waiver instead, This will allow him to issue a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all US troops.
Watch the CBS News video reporting that the Pentagon will require all military members to get vaccinated against COVID-19:
Will the FDA’s full approval of COVID-19 vaccines convince you to get vaccine shots? Or, will you comply with a vaccine mandate?
Let us know what you think of getting protected from the recent COVID-19 resurgence. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.