U.S. military members will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-September, according to a Pentagon memo.
The plan presented by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would require a waiver from President Joe Biden since the COVID-19 vaccines have not received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
“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,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote in the memo sent to all department of defense employees. “We will have more to say about this as implementation plans are fully developed.”
Biden released a statement soon after the memo was sent out, saying he would “strongly support” the plan to vaccinate all service members.
“Secretary Austin and I share an unshakable commitment to making sure our troops have every tool they need to do their jobs as safely as possible,” the president said in the statement. “These vaccines will save lives. Period.”
If a vaccine were to receive full approval before the September 15, date, it is possible that the vaccination date may be pushed up, according to the plan presented by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.