US military says all soldiers on active duty must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 15
- The military announced on Tuesday that all soldiers on active duty must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by December 15th
- All National Guard members must be fully vaccinated by June 30, 2022
- This is part of the military’s effort to comply with Department of Defense orders that all US troops receive a vaccine by September 15.
- Before the announcement last month, vaccines for soldiers were optional
The military unveiled its plan on Tuesday to comply with the Pentagon’s order that all military personnel be vaccinated against the coronavirus by mid-September.
Soldiers will be required by the military, according to a Tuesday press release, to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 15 — meaning they have received all required doses of the vaccine and will reach the two-week waiting period after the last dose.
Also required in the military mandate is that National Guard troops be fully vaccinated by June 30, 2022.
“This is literally a matter of life and death for our soldiers, their families and the communities in which we live,” said Lieutenant General R. Scott Dingle, the US Army Surgeon General.
“Number of cases and deaths remain concerning as the Delta variant spreads, making protecting the force through mandatory vaccination a health and preparedness priority for the entire military.”
The military announced Tuesday that all soldiers on active duty must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by December 15, and that all members of the National Guard must be fully vaccinated by June 30, 2022.
The Pentagon announced in early August that all US troops will receive a COVID-19 vaccine by September 15.
At the time of the order on Aug. 9, 73 percent of active-duty military personnel had already received at least one injection, and 62 percent had been fully vaccinated. That number has clearly increased since then.
In September, President Joe Biden made comments requiring most American workers to get vaccines. Employers with 100 or more employees must now collect proof of vaccination from their employees or otherwise be tested for the coronavirus at least weekly.
This order affects at least two-thirds of the US workforce.
Military members, who sign a contract with the government, are also facing orders to get the vaccine as Biden faces backlash for falling rates and re-implementation of mask mandates in areas with high cases.
The military press release claims that soldiers who refuse the vaccine could be fired or removed from service.
“While soldiers who refuse the vaccine will first be advised by their chain of command and medical providers, continued non-compliance could result in administrative or non-judicial penalties, including exemption from duties or discharge,” the release said.
“Soldiers have the option to request exemption from receiving the vaccine if they have a legitimate medical, religious or administrative reason,” it continued. “Soldiers awaiting waiver requests will not be subject to adverse actions until the waiver has been fully processed.”
The military began executing Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s order as early as August 24 to try to get a shot in the arms of soldiers before September 15.
Before that, vaccines were optional for military troops on active duty.