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News > U.S.

US: Vaccination To Be Mandatory for US Military by September 15

  • The Pentagon will require the COVID vaccine for active duty military members by September 15.

    The Pentagon will require the COVID vaccine for active duty military members by September 15. | Photo: Twitter/@Cleavon_MD

Published 9 August 2021

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced he will seek White House permission to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations for all members of the military by September 15 or whenever the vaccines receive federal regulatory approval, whichever comes first.

Austin said in a memo to all members of the U.S. military on Monday: “I will seek the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon” their licensing by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “whichever comes first."


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“I will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the President if l feel the need to do so. To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force,” he added.

The three COVID-19 vaccines – made by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, respectively – recognized by the US government have already been authorized for emergency use, but without full FDA approval, Austin will need a waiver from the White House to make them mandatory, which explains the five-week notice.

Monday’s memo comes after last week’s media speculation that the Defense Secretary and the Biden administration were working on a vaccine mandate for the military, framed in those exact terms. Media reports suggest that FDA approval for Pfizer’s vaccine, which uses mRNA technology, could come in early September. Moderna’s mRNA shots could receive approval soon afterwards. 

Once the mandate is in place, any member of the military who refuses to receive the vaccine could be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for failure to obey orders.

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