The Pentagon will require all active-duty members of the U.S. military to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, The Associated Press is reporting.
According to The AP, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will be issuing a memo Monday outlining steps to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory by Sept. 15.
“I will seek the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon” licensure by the Food and Drug Administration “whichever comes first,” Austin says in the memo to troops, warning them to prepare for the requirement.
“I will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the President if l feel the need to do so.”
Austin, who had previously said he was not comfortable with a mandate for a vaccine until the vaccine was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, had asked the military services to report on how and when they would go about putting a mandate in place.
Austin decided not to wait for the Food and Drug Administration to fully approve the vaccines to require members of the military to get vaccinated.
Austin’s decision came after an announcement made by President Joe Biden on July 29 asking the Defense Department to “look into how and when” it will add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of mandatory military vaccinations.
According to the Pentagon, more than 1 million troops are fully vaccinated and another 237,000 have received one shot.
The AP contributed to this report.
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