Washington Institute For Defence & SecurityWashington Institute For Defence & SecurityWashington Institute For Defence & Security
Washington, DC 20001

In a memo to Pentagon staff on Monday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that all personnel of the US armed forces will be required to have the COVID-19 vaccine “by mid-September.”

 President Joe Biden said in a statement that he “strongly supports” the move, and that he and Austin “have an unwavering commitment to ensure that our troops have all of the tools they need to execute their duties as safely as possible.” The Pentagon has approximately 1.4 million active personnel.

Biden had requested the army to consider “how and when” to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of mandatory immunizations for troops at the end of July.

According to Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby, the military has adequate immunizations to meet the criteria. “You can see this memo not simply as a warning order to the services, but also to the troops themselves,” he continued.

Vaccines have been proven successful, according to Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Armed Services Committee.

At the same time, the White House announced that millions of government employees would have to be vaccinated or face a variety of restrictions.

Despite the fact that more than half of the American population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, the United States has been witnessing an epidemic associated to the delta strain for several weeks.

In the meantime, according to Austin’s memo, the Pentagon will follow Biden’s directive for additional limitations on unvaccinated federal employees, such as masks, social isolation, and travel restrictions 

According to the Pentagon, more than 1 million troops are fully vaccinated and another 237,000 have received one shot. But the military services vary widely in their vaccination rates.

Upon taking office, the Biden administration pushed for a widespread immunization program. The rate of daily immunizations had dramatically decreased after a peak in early April.

Biden’s target of at least 70% of adults receiving at least one injection was not met until early last week, over a month late.

The COVID-19 issue has intensified across the country, with hospitals in unvaccinated areas of the South facing more strain. Mississippi stated that 35 medical centers are completely out of intensive care unit beds, Arkansas set a new pandemic record for COVID admissions, and the national average number of persons hospitalized has risen to levels not seen since February.

However, since early July, the number of vaccines has increased marginally.



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