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Pentagon moving to mandate COVID-19 vaccine for U.S. troops

The Defense Department introduced Monday that it’s going to transfer to make the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine necessary for all U.S. service members, now that the vaccine has obtained the total approval of the Food and Drug Administration.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated in a memo to the drive this month that he would mandate the vaccine for the 1.3 million service members, both upon FDA approval or by mid-September with a waiver from President Biden. Vaccines have been voluntary for troops whereas they’re underneath emergency use authorization. 

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby informed reporters Monday that up to date steering and a timeline for when troops must be vaccinated will probably be supplied within the coming days. 

According to Pentagon knowledge, about 68% of the lively responsibility drive is totally vaccinated and 76% have at the least one dose. 

 United States Navy medical personnel put together Moderna coronavirus vaccines at Camp Hansen on April 28, 2021 in Kin, Japan. 

Carl Court / Getty Images

In current weeks, six service members have died of COVID-19, which accounts for about 17% of the full of 35 service member deaths within the Defense Department because the pandemic started. 

“We will also be keeping a close eye on infection rates — which are on the rise now due to the Delta variant — and the impact these rates might have on our readiness,” Austin stated in his memo this month. He additionally urged troops to get vaccinated earlier than a mandate takes effect.  

With the event of emergency-authorized vaccines earlier this year, the Pentagon has been persistently encouraging hesitant troops to get the vaccine. Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley have each attended digital roundtables this year to encourage troops and their households to get the vaccine.

In July, because the extremely contagious Delta variant started to surge nationwide, Mr. Biden  tasked Austin with exploring how and when to make the vaccine necessary for U.S. service members. Austin consulted with medical professionals and introduced in an August 9 memo that he would  mandate the vaccine instantly upon FDA approval or by presidential waiver in September. 

After months of permitting vaccination to be voluntary, the Pentagon drafted extra choices due to the rising concern concerning the Delta variant.