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Despite Supreme Court ruling, Pentagon says military vaccination mandate remains in place

A spokesman says High Court ruling "has nothing to do" with Defense Department.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its sweeping vaccine-or-test requirements for large private companies.

So, what does that mean for the military and its civilian workforce? Nothing.

"As we understand it, it does not affect the federal contractors and the executive order by the President with regard to federal contractors specifically," said Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby on Friday.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's emergency mandate required that workers at businesses with 100 or more employees get vaccinated or submit a negative COVID test weekly to enter the workplace. It also required unvaccinated workers to wear masks indoors at work.

But even though the Supreme Court has now struck down that provision, Pentagon spokesman Kirby said that the high court's ruling does not affect President Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's vaccine mandate for the active-duty force, reserves or National Guard.

"The mandate remains in place for the total force and again, we continue to encourage those who haven't been vaccinated and don't have an exemption to get vaccinated and do the right thing," he said.

As of January 12, Defense Department numbers show that more than 1.6 million members of the military, and more than 341,000 DOD civilians are fully vaccinated.

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