Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asked for approval from the US administration to oblige soldiers to immunize against COVID-19 from September 15. In response, President Joe Biden wrote that he “strongly supports” the idea. “We are still at war against this virus and every eligible American should be vaccinated,” he wrote.
“I will seek the president’s consent to make vaccinations mandatory no later than mid-September (…). I will not hesitate to take appropriate steps earlier or recommend a different solution to the president if I deem it necessary” – wrote Austin in the document reached by the Associated Press.
The US secretary of defense confirmed this on social media.
Biden: I strongly support the operation of the Department of Defense
Shortly thereafter, the White House issued a statement on the matter.
“I strongly support Secretary Lloyd Austin and the Department of Defense who plan to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccinations for members of the service. We are still at war against this virus and every eligible American should be vaccinated,” wrote Joe Biden.
Mandatory vaccination of soldiers
Just over a week before Austin issued this note to White House staff, the president ordered the Pentagon to prepare a plan to vaccinate soldiers. Many governments around the world have already made the same decisions against the armed forces, and these campaigns have accelerated the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus, the AP agency reminds.
Pentagon: Over a million soldiers have been fully vaccinated
Austin said the armed forces will have several weeks to prepare a vaccination campaign. According to the Pentagon, over a million soldiers have already been fully vaccinated, and 237,000 have received the first dose of the vaccine.
The U.S. Navy has reported that more than 74 percent of seafarers in active service and in reserve have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine. The US Air Force reported that over 65 percent of its soldiers were on active duty and 60 percent were on duty. reservists have been at least partially vaccinated. Nearly 50 percent of the soldiers have been vaccinated in the ground forces.
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