According to a new Pentagon memo obtained by reporters, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has ordered all service members to get vaccinated immediately.
In the memo, Secretary of Defense Austin wrote: To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force. After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people.”
Up to this point, roughly 800,000 Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserves have yet to receive the vaccine. The DOD has said that there is no set timeline but will impose ambitious timelines for implementation and receive reports on the progress.
After the FDA gave the Pfizer Vaccine FULL authorization, the Department of Defense Lloyd Austin added the Coronavirus vaccine to the 17 vaccines required for recruits entering the military.
The requirement also added that mandate allows exemptions for religious or medical purposes consistent with all the other required vaccines.
When it comes to punishment or reprimand against service members denying the vaccine, the defense Secretary has communicated with senior-level officials to approach this with compassion but no word on punishment.
Pentagon spokesperson told reporters that the way they are implementing this order is lawful and in scope with rules regarding all other vaccines. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters, “it’s a lawful order, and we fully anticipate that our troops are going to follow lawful orders.”
BY THE NUMBERS:
As of August 18th
1 Million service members had been fully vaccinated, and another 240K had received the first dose.
40% are fully vaccinated, and 57% have received at least the first dose
73% have been Fully Vaccinated, and 79% have received at least the first dose
53% have been fully vaccinated, with 60% getting at least the first dose.
57% fully vaccinated, with 64% receiving the first dose.