As part of the government’s effort to kick-start vaccinations, the Defense Department is asking all military and civilian personnel to certify to whether they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
As the vaccination campaign grows, the Department of Defense will begin questioning troops about their vaccination status.
In a news statement released Thursday evening, Pentagon spokesman Jamal Brown stated that those who have not been vaccinated or who refuse to say will be required to wear a mask and physically separate themselves from others. They must also be tested on a regular basis and have travel restrictions imposed on them. President Joe Biden announced a range of programs targeted at increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates, and the Pentagon made this announcement just hours later. Biden said he had directed the military to look into how and when the vaccine will be made mandatory for service personnel, among other things.
“The Department of Defense is moving fast to satisfy President Biden’s commitment to defeat COVID-19, which includes ensuring the safety of every member of our civilian and military workforce,” Brown said in a statement.
Those who mislead about their immunization status may be subject to repercussions. The Marine Corps warned its troops on July 9 that service members and civilian employees who falsify their status could face administrative or disciplinary action. The government’s heightened emphasis on vaccination comes at a time when vaccination rates are stagnating and fears about a highly transmissible coronavirus mutation known as the Delta variant are mounting. The seven-day moving average for new COVID cases has reached 40,246 instances, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s online data tracker, which is up roughly 47 percent from the previous week’s average.
The Pentagon began mandating all troops and visitors — even those who are fully vaccinated — to wear masks when indoors at military locations located in areas with significant or high COVID transmission rates earlier this week, following the CDC’s guidance. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will engage with medical personnel and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to determine how and when to make recommendations to the White House on making the COVID vaccine obligatory, according to Brown.
Brown stated, “COVID-19 remains a substantial and evolving threat to our nation’s security.” “With the advent of the Delta type and the speed with which it communicates, these additional protective steps are even more critical to safeguarding our army and the country we defend. Vaccines, including the Delta form, remain the best and most effective strategy to prevent the spread of COVID.” A vaccine obligation, on the other hand, may be contentious and lead to legal challenges. Biden’s idea to require civilian federal employees to get vaccinated or submit to frequent testing and other conditions, according to the law firm Tully Rinckey, might be contested on multiple fronts.
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