WASHINGTON — COVID-19 vaccinations are no longer optional for service personnel. The Pentagon is requiring members of the U.S. military to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
All military troops have until Sept. 15 to get vaccinated, according to a memo sent by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The directive went out to all DOD employees. The requirement could come sooner depending on developments regarding vaccine approval or the spread of COVID-19, Fox News reported.
“I will seek the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon [FDA approval] whichever comes first,” Austin said in the memo, which was distributed to troops on Monday.
“I will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the President if l feel the need to do so,” Austin added. “To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force.”
According to the AP, more than 74% of the Navy/Marines have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while the Air Force stands at 65%, and the Army is about 50%.