Military Branches Announce Deadlines For Soldiers To Get Coronavirus Vaccine

Four U.S. military branches have announced the deadline for active-duty and reserve service members to get the coronavirus vaccine.

These deadlines were announced weeks after the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine received the Food and Drug Administration’s full authorization, which in turn led Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s memo to make it mandatory shortly after.

Active-duty members of the Army will have to be vaccinated by Dec. 15, while active-duty members of the Air Force will need to be vaccinated by Nov. 2, Nov. 28 for active-duty Navy sailors, and that date also applies to Marine Corps members.

Non-active-duty Marine Corps and Navy Reserve service members have to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 28, while reserve Air Force personnel need to get the shot by Dec. 2, and Army reservists need it by June 30, 2022.

“This is quite literally a matter of life and death for our Soldiers, their families and the communities in which we live,” said Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the U.S. Army surgeon general. “Case counts and deaths continue to be concerning as the Delta variant spreads, which makes protecting the force through mandatory vaccination a health and readiness priority for the total Army.”

Seventy-six percent of the active armed forces are partially vaccinated and 68% are fully vaccinated, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Aug. 25, the day Lloyd issued the memo. As of Wednesday, 88% of the active armed forces had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and an additional 5% has been fully vaccinated since the mandate was issued, Kirby said during the daily briefing.

A soldier may be exempt from taking the COVID-19 shot for medical or religious reasons. But service members who do not qualify for their exemption “face suspension and relief if they refuse to comply,” the Army’s statement reads.

“Prior to any adverse action, each would be notified of the suspension and potential relief from their duties,” it adds. “They would then be counseled and provided the opportunity to be vaccinated before they would become subject to removal from their positions by a general officer.”

Author: Mike Brest

Source: Washington Examiner: Military branches announce deadlines for soldiers to get coronavirus vaccine

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