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Pentagon to require all U.S. military members to get vaccinated for COVID-19

The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15.

US President Joe Biden takes questions in the East Room of the White House on August 3, 2021. — Photo: © AFP
US President Joe Biden takes questions in the East Room of the White House on August 3, 2021. — Photo: © AFP

The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press.

That deadline could be pushed up if the vaccine receives final FDA approval or infection rates continue to rise. The memo was expected to go out Monday.

“I will seek the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon” licensure by the Food and Drug Administration “whichever comes first,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says in the memo to troops, warning them to prepare for the requirement.

He added that if infection rates rise and potentially affect military readiness, “I will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the President if l feel the need to do so. To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force.”

The memo came out about a week after President Joe Biden told defense officials to develop a plan requiring troops to get shots as part of a broader plan to increase vaccine awareness with federal employees.

The move also reflects the decisions by governments and businesses around the world as nations struggle with the highly contagious delta variant.

In the U.S.. coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are surging to heights not seen since the peaks last winter.

More seriously, Austin’s memo says that the military services will have the next few weeks to prepare, determine how many vaccines they need, and how this mandate will be implemented.

The additional time is also is a nod to the bitter political divisiveness over the vaccine and the knowledge that making it mandatory will likely trigger opposition from vaccine opponents across the state and federal governments, Congress, and the American population.

The decision will add the COVID-19 vaccine to a list of other inoculations that service members are already required to get. Depending on their location around the world, service members can get as many as 17 different vaccines.

Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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