U.S. Military Now Require Vaccine

The Department of Defense will require all active-duty military members to get a COVID-19 vaccine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Aug. 9.

The requirement could be in place in the coming days, Austin said in a memo sent to all Pentagon employees that was obtained by The Epoch Times.

“I want you to know that I will seek the President’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensure, whichever comes first,” Austin said.

While all three COVID-19 vaccines being administered in the United States are under emergency use authorization, officials have suggested that the Pfizer–BioNTech version could become FDA-approved as soon as this month.

Approval requires more evidence of efficacy and safety than emergency clearance does.

Austin will seek a waiver to make the vaccines mandatory since they haven’t yet been approved, unless approval comes soon, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Washington.

“The intervening few weeks will be spent preparing for this transition. I have every confidence that Service leadership and your commanders will implement this new vaccination program with professionalism, skill, and compassion. We will have more to say about this as implementation plans are fully developed,” Austin said.

He also said officials would be keeping a close watch on the increase in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the United States.

“I will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the President if I feel the need to do so,” Austin said.