Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated that the move was intended to ensure the safety of service members.
Washington (AP) — The Pentagon says it will require service members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved.
According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is following through on his promise made earlier this month to require the shots once the Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine.
Currently, Kirby is developing guidance, and a timeline will be provided in the near future.
In a memo dated Aug. 9, Austin stated that he would request the president’s approval to make the vaccine mandatory no later than mid-September, or the day after FDA approval if that occurs first.
Kirby stated that the measure was taken to ensure the safety of service members. As a result of the close proximity between military personnel in barracks and on ships, concerns about the virus are particularly acute. Any large virus outbreak in the military could affect America’s ability to defend itself in any security crisis.