Breaking News
More () »

Pentagon says COVID-19 vaccines will be mandatory for all service members

Every member of the U.S. military will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine now that the Food and Drug Administration gave the Pfizer shot full approval.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Now that U.S. regulators have given full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, every member of the U.S. military will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pentagon officials confirmed, they’re still working on guidance and a timeline for service members to get the shot.

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

Health officials have already administered millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine under an Emergency Use Authorization and now, the two-dose shot has full approval.

Hours after its approval, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed the vaccine will become mandatory for all service members.

"Now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved, the Department is prepared to issue updated guidance requiring all service members to be vaccinated," Kirby said. “A timeline for vaccination completion will be provided in the coming days.”

The news comes amid a new surge in COVID cases. The Delta variant is the predominant strain in the U.S., sickening thousands across the country.  

According to figures on the Department of Defense website, more than a million service members are fully vaccinated, and another 244,000 are partially vaccinated.  

Kirby said this new vaccine mandate is about ensuring the health of the armed forces.

“It’s important to remind everyone that these efforts ensure the safety of our service members and promote the readiness of our force, not to mention the health and safety of the communities around the country in which we live," he said. “The health of the force is, as always, our military and our civilian employees, families, and communities is a top priority.”  

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has already said he would seek mandatory vaccinations for military members. Kirby acknowledged that, indicating this new mandate is Austin making good on that promise.

“Back in August on the 9th, the Secretary articulated that it was his intent to mandate the COVID-19 vaccines upon FDA licensure or by mid-September to seek a waiver from the president," Kirby said. “We’re going to move forward making that vaccine mandatory. We’re preparing the guidance to the force, right now. The actual completion date of it -- in other words, how fast we want to see it get done -- we’re working through that guidance right now.”

Paid Advertisement