The Pentagon will require all military personnel to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before or before Sept. 15, according to a new memo from the Secretary of Defense. Lloyd AustinLloyd Austin Senate Confirms Biden’s Choice for Secretary of the Navy The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – McConnell Plays a ‘Long Game’ with Government Funding, Reconciliation Austin is expected to seek clearance to make the vaccination is mandatory for active duty troops MORE, released Monday.
“I will seek the president’s approval for vaccines to be mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately after” final approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “whichever comes first,” Austin wrote in the memo. to the troops.
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 I feel the need to. To defend this nation, we need a sane and ready force, “Austin added.
The Associated Press first reported in the memo the Monday before.
Biden – who at the end of last month told defense officers to come up with a plan to require troops to receive vaccinations – on Monday he said he “strongly” supports Austin’s new message.
“Secretary Austin and I share an unwavering commitment to ensuring that our troops have all the tools they need to do their jobs as safely as possible,” Biden said in a statement.
“Being vaccinated will allow our service members to stay healthy, better protect their families, and ensure our force is ready to operate anywhere in the world. We cannot back down in the fight against COVID-19, especially with the Delta variant spreading rapidly through unvaccinated populations. We are still on the warpath, and every eligible American should take immediate steps to get vaccinated immediately. ”
The Pentagon now adds the coronavirus vaccine to the list of more than a dozen vaccines that service members should receive, including vaccines against measles, mumps, diphtheria, hepatitis, smallpox and flu.
Until now, the Pentagon had not ordered the COVID-19 vaccine, as it remains under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization. Previously, the department has been strongly encouraging troops to get vaccinated.
In his new memo, Austin said the military services will have the next few weeks to prepare and develop implementation plans.
“In the meantime, we will comply with the President’s instructions regarding additional restrictions and requirements for unvaccinated federal personnel. Those requirements apply to those of you in uniform, as well as to our civilian and contractor personnel, ”he writes.
He said Pentagon officials “will also keep a close eye on infection rates, which are now increasing due to the Delta variant, and the impact these rates could have on our preparedness. I will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the president if I feel the need to. “
The FDA can give final approval to the Pfizer vaccine between now and Sept. 15, but without that green light, Biden must grant Austin a waiver to make the vaccines mandatory.
Austin noted that over the past week he had consulted closely with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark milleyMark MilleyAustin misses an opportunity in Singapore, but scores high in the Philippines Night defense: first batch of Afghan evacuees arrive in Virginia | Biden Signs Capitol Security Fund Bill and Reimburses Guard | Pentagon Raises Health Protection Level Weeks After Lowering Watchdog Warns US Will Repeat Afghanistan Mistakes MORE, secretaries of military departments, heads of service, and medical professionals.