Pentagon wants to mandate vaccines for troops
At least 1 million members of the U.S. military have already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. On Monday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released a memo outlining a plan to require the rest to get the shot starting no later than Sept. 15. There are roughly 2 million active duty, National Guard, and Reserve troops. While the Navy reported nearly 74 percent of all active duty and reserve sailors have received at least one shot, the Army hovers at about 50 percent.
Does everyone have to comply? The Pentagon plans to add the coronavirus vaccine to a list of required shots, including measles and chickenpox. The list allows religious and health exemptions or postponements. Those who refuse to get vaccinated without an exemption could be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for refusing to obey an order. Until the vaccine mandate goes into effect, Austin said the military is abiding by President Joe Biden’s instructions to place additional restrictions on unvaccinated federal employees. Those include wearing masks, social distancing, and limiting travel.
Dig deeper: Listen to Mary Reichard discuss vaccine mandates on the Legal Docket of The World and Everything in It podcast.
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