US Military Requires Troops to Get Coronavirus Vaccines By September 15
17:46 GMT 09.08.2021 (Updated: 18:26 GMT 09.08.2021)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Members of the US military will have to receive coronavirus vaccines by September 15, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memorandum to soldiers, obtained by Associated Press on Monday.
"I will seek the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon [licensure by the Food and Drug Administration]… whichever comes first," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in the memo. "I will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the President if l feel the need to do so."
The announcement comes amid decisions by the Biden administration and governors to begin placing restrictions on state and federal employees who are unvaccinated or refuse to attest to their vaccination status. Private companies such as Google have likewise begun to re-implement extra restrictions on unvaccinated employees.
31 December 2020, 21:55 GMT
Austin said in the memorandum that service members will have the next several weeks to prepare to implement the vaccine mandate. The coronavirus shots will be added to the list of vaccinations that soldiers are required to get, which can number as high as 17 depending on where they serve.
US President Joe Biden on Monday expressed support for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s decision to require all military members to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus by September 15.
“I strongly support Secretary Austin’s message to the force today on the Department of Defense’s plan to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccinations for our service members not later than mid-September. Secretary Austin and I share an unshakable commitment to making sure our troops have every tool they need to do their jobs as safely as possible,” Biden said in a statement.
Biden said he was proud of the US military for helping to lead the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and “setting the example of keeping their fellow Americans safe.”
According to the Defense Department, more than 1 million service members have already been fully vaccinated.