The Defense Department has Set Dates for Active Duty to Get Vaccinated
Now that the Defense Department has added the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to its list of mandatory shots for active duty and those enlisting, we now have a deadline for when all active-duty members must get the shot.
Vaccine Requirement Announced in August
Back in late August, we wrote about Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's announcement to follow through on his promise to get troops vaccinated once the Pfizer vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Austin said in the memo, “To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force. After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease...is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people. Our vaccination of the Force will save lives. Thank you for your focus on this critical mission.”
We now know that dates that each branch of the military has set as a deadline.
According to an article from KXXV 25, the U.S. Army has set Dec. 15, 2021 as its deadline for all active-duty personnel to be fully vaccinated. Personnel who refuse the vaccine could face “relief of duties or discharge.”
Deadlines Differ Between Branches
The deadlines are different for each branch.
For the Air Force, active-duty personnel will have to be fully vaccinated by November 2, 2021.
Both the Navy and Marines active-duty members will need to be fully vaccinated by November 28, 2021.
Those in the National Guard will have until June 30, 2022 to get fully vaccinated.
There Are Exemptions
Exemptions are available on medical, religious, or administrative grounds.
U.S. Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle says, “This is quite literally a matter of life and death for our Soldiers, their families and the communities in which we live.”
The DOD Has a COVID-19 Dashboard
The Department of Defense operates a dashboard showing COVID-19 vaccination, infection, recovery, hospitalization, and death rates. You can see that information here.
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