The defense department will soon implement new directives for testing and vaccination. The defense secretary Lloyd Austin has taken a vow that he would not wait until the situation goes out of hand. The officials of the Pentagon are still unsure of how they will implement the measures across this vast population of the military. They are still scrambling to figure out which National Guard and Reserve troops the orders will affect.
After President Joe Biden’s announcement mandating COVID-19 vaccines across the federal workforce, the Pentagon faces two missions. The responsibility falls on the shoulders of the defense department to mandate vaccination for the military and introduce guidelines for workers by providing them with two options- either they will have to get vaccinated, or face strict restrictions like masking up and getting tested for COVID-19 virus frequently.
Vaccine Mandates To Be Introduced For The Military Soon
Austin said that the department will continue to work effortlessly, but he can not know for sure how long it will take. He said he will take guidance from military service leaders and medical professionals.
The Food and Drug Administration has not yet finalized or given direct approval to the vaccine, and it will require Biden’s signed waiver to officially mandate vaccination. The federal law says that individuals should have a choice whether they want to accept or reject the vaccine, but the emergency use can be waived by the president mandating the requirement if it interests the security of the nation.
The vaccine opponents will protest when vaccines are mandated and will drag political debates in the matter over the highly conflicted issue of the US currently. The military commanders have been struggling to separate the vaccinated recruits from the unvaccinated ones while training them. So it would be helpful to them to mandate vaccination as it would make everything for them less complicated.
Depending on where the military service members are posted, they are required to take one of seventeen different vaccines. Some vaccines are important to take in a specific region. The speed of vaccination is increasing, according to military officials. At some places, the number is getting close to 100%.
The information given by the Pentagon says that around 1 million service members have taken both the doses of vaccine, and another 233,000 have taken one shot of vaccine. Around 2 million are active-duty members in Guard and Reserve troops. There is also concern about whether the members who refuse the vaccine will be terminated.
The officials of the National Guard said that if guard troops refuse the vaccine, they will be given counseling and encouraged to get the vaccine. If they still refuse, they would be ordered to get vaccinated. And if they still fail, it could result in administrative action.
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The guard officials are still debating over the legal recommendations on which soldiers will be impacted by the decisions and which won’t. When it is mandated, most of the guards would have to eventually get vaccinated.
Those guard troops who are on their duty would be dosed in the place they are deployed at. The others will be vaccinated when they come back to report monthly drills. The system would be similar to any other vaccine required.
As the age and health of military members make them safe from getting severe, hospitalization and death, the number of positive cases in the military is still increasing. The rate of positive cases was less earlier this year. According to the data provided by the Pentagon, this week has seen 208,600 positive cases in the military, among which 1,800 have been hospitalized and 28 have died.
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