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The Department of Defense will require the US military to receive a COVID vaccine by September 15

The Department of Defense will require all members of the US military to be vaccinated against COVID by September 15.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday (August 9) sent an order to all department staff, stating that all US military members will be required to get a COVID vaccine by September 15. . This mandatory vaccination could be made even sooner if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approves the COVID-19 vaccine or the pandemic continues to spread.

In the order, Secretary Austin said: “I will ask the president [Biden] to approve an order that would require the military to have the COVID vaccine by September 15, or make it mandatory if the FDA fully approves the vaccine. please, whichever comes first”.

“I would not hesitate to act sooner or recommend to the President a different course of action if I feel the need to do so,” Austin added. “To defend this Country, we need an army that is strong and ready [to fight].”

The FDA is likely to fully approve Pfizer’s COVID vaccine in early September. If the FDA has not approved it by that time, Secretary Austin will likely petition President Biden to issue an executive order requiring the military to make COVID vaccines mandatory.

Mr. Austin encouraged all US Department of Defense employees to get the COVID vaccine now, regardless of mandatory vaccination orders.

“To defend this Country, we need a strong and ready army. I strongly encourage all military and civilian personnel, as well as contract workers at the Department of Defense, to get vaccinated against [COVID] now, and I also strongly encourage military members not to wait. mandatory injection,” said Minister Austin.

President Joe Biden in a speech on Monday afternoon (August 9, US time) also endorsed the idea of ​​​​mandating the US military to get a COVID vaccine.

“I strongly support Secretary Austin’s message to the Army today about the Department of Defense’s plan to add a COVID vaccine to the list of required vaccines for our military members. no later than mid-September,” Biden said. “Secretary Austin and I share the unshakable commitment that we need to make sure our military has all the tools they need to carry out their mission as safely as possible.” .

According to the AP news agency, there are currently 17 vaccines required for the US military, how many of these vaccines will be given depending on where they are on duty around the world. .

More than 74% of the US Navy has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to the AP. 65% of active-duty members and 60% of US Air Force reservists have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. The rate of COVID vaccination in the Army is slower with less than 50% of soldiers receiving at least one dose.

US soldiers who have not been vaccinated against COVID will now have to follow disease prevention procedures, including wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and complying with immigration restrictions.

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