Defense Secretary Orders US Troops to Quickly Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

U.S. military department heads were ordered on Aug. 24 to “immediately” start getting their troops vaccinated against COVID-19, two days after the first COVID-19 vaccine received full federal approval.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memorandum made public on Aug. 25 that the secretaries of all military departments must “immediately begin full vaccination” of all service members who aren’t already vaccinated.

While a timeline wasn’t laid out in the memo, Austin directed a rapid pace, telling the secretaries to “impose ambitious timelines for implementation.”

Austin announced on Aug. 9 that all active-duty military members would have to get a COVID-19 vaccine. He said he would either wait until a vaccine was approved by drug regulators or, if that didn’t happen by mid-September, he would ask President Joe Biden for a waiver.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech shot on Aug. 23.

Austin emphasized in the new memo that the mandatory vaccination would only use vaccines that receive full licensure from the FDA. That means troops will be required to get the Pfizer shot, a Pentagon spokesman said this week. – READ MORE