The Pentagon will reportedly announce that all members of the US military are required to get a Covid-19 vaccine by September 15.
The deadline may change if the vaccine gets final approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or if infection rates keep moving upward, according to a memo obtained by the 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 FDA, ‘whichever comes first’, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated in the memo to troops.
The memo advising troops to prepare for the requirement was expected to be sent on Monday.
Austin’s memo comes just over a week after President Joe Biden instructed defense authorities to come up with a plan for troops to get vaccinated.
‘Since many vaccinations are required for active-duty military today, I’m asking the Defense Department to look into how and when they will add Covid-19 to the list of vaccinations our armed forces must get,’ Biden said on July 30.
The president’s request is part of his broader effort to up the vaccination rate in the federal workforce.
Austin’s memo states that military services will have several weeks to prepare and plan how to implement the requirement, as well as figure out how many vaccines soldiers will need.
The few weeks time frame gives the FDA time to give final approval to the Pfizer jab, which could occur in early September.
If the vaccine does not receive final FDA approval, Austin will need a waiver from Biden in order to make getting the shots mandatory for military members.
A coronavirus outbreak in the military could affect the country’s ability to defend itself in a variety of national security scenarios and emergencies.
Service members can be get vaccines all over the world, meaning there are 17 different jabs they can choose from.
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