Members of the U.S. military will need to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by September 15. That comes from a memo Monday from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin telling troops that seek the approval of the president to make vaccinations mandatory no later than mid-September, or earlier if you receive a vaccination .
“I strongly advise all Defense Department military and civilian personnel, as well as contractor personnel, to get vaccinated now and that military service members do not wait for the mandate,” the Austin memo reads.
The news was previously reported by Associated Press.
The decision comes just over a week after President Joe Biden asked the Department of Defense to develop a plan to add COVID-19 to the list of vaccines that troops must obtain.
“Our uniformed men and women who protect this country from grave threats must be protected as much as possible against COVID-19,” Biden said during remarks at the White House on July 29. “I think this is particularly important because our troops serve in places around the world, many where vaccination rates are low and the disease is prevalent.”
In the memo, Austin says the military will have the next few weeks to prepare for this change and determine how the mandate will be implemented.
The Biden administration has been pushing for increased vaccines amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. The delta variant, a strain first documented in India, has become the dominant strain in the US, what it represents more than 80% of COVID cases in the country at the end of July.