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Military leaders consider making booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine mandatory

Discussions are ongoing, but for now, the COVID-19 booster shot is voluntary for the troops.

WASHINGTON — Could America's more than 2 million active and reserve military members be forced to get a COVID-19 booster shot? Maybe.

That question was posed to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Monday.

Kirby said most service members are already fully vaccinated, as required by prior orders from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. More than 6 million doses have been administered to Department of Defense (DoD) personnel.

As far as the future and whether the booster will one day be required as well, Kirby left that possibility open, saying discussions are ongoing.

"We are still in discussions here at the Pentagon about booster shots, and there's been no decisions made about making the mandatory," he said. "They are still not mandatory. But, as the secretary has said, we encourage those members who are eligible to get booster shots, because it does help lessen the effect.

Kirby continued: "So no decision yet. We're still talking about that. And, if there's a change to the current posture with respect to boosters, we'll certainly let you know."

The DoD said the military branches have reported more than 273,000 cases of COVID-19, and, 86 COVID-related deaths among uniformed military members.

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