Biden backs mandatory vaccinations for US soldiers

Biden backs mandatory vaccinations for US soldiers

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 vaccinations for US soldiers

Washington, Aug 10 (IANS) US President Joe Biden said he strongly supports the Department of Defense’s (DoD) effort to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all members of the country’s military by September 15.

“I support (Defense) Secretary (Lloyd) Austin’s message that the Department of Defense has taken a decision before mid-September today,” Biden said in a statement released Monday by the White House, hours after DoD unveiled Secretary Austin’s memorandum. We have planned to add the COVID 19 vaccine to the list of essential immunizations for our service members.


  Earlier in the day, Austin said in a memo that he would seek presidential approval to make vaccines mandatory in mid-September. In the absence of the FDA’s full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, which is now only authorized for emergency use, Austin would have to seek an exemption from Biden to mandate vaccinations for men and women in uniform.

 

 The Pentagon’s decision came a week after Biden made the announcement. He had directed the department to see how and when they would add COVID-19 in the list of vaccinations to our armed forces. Discussions over mandatory vaccination among active duty soldiers intensified after Biden, while suggesting to the Pentagon, announced in late July that all federal civilian employees in the executive branch should be given their vaccination status, routine testing, wearing masks and Social distancing as well as restrictions on official travel is a must.


According to Pentagon figures, more than one million soldiers have been fully vaccinated and another 237,082 have received a shot. The data also showed that vaccination rates varied widely between different military services. –IANS MSB/RJS