Pentagon to require COVID vaccine for all troops by Sept. 15

Troops living and working in close quarters increase risks of a widespread outbreak of the highly contagious delta variant. 'To defend this nation, we need a healthy and ready force,' said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.


National News

August 9, 2021 - 12:47 PM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press. That deadline could be pushed up if the vaccine receives final FDA approval or infection rates continue to rise.

“I will seek the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon” licensure by the Food and Drug Administration “whichever comes first,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says in the memo to troops, warning them to prepare for the requirement.

He added that if infection rates rise and potentially affect military readiness, “I will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the President if l feel the need to do so. To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force.”

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