The U.S. military will move to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for all service members now that the Pfizer vaccine has full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Pentagon’s top spokesperson announced Monday.
A timeline for when service members must receive the shot will be provided in the coming days, Kirby added.
The Defense Department is preparing “guidance to the force” to make the vaccine mandatory, with a timeline to be provided in the coming days, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters.
The Pentagon has not previously required the COVID-19 vaccine for its personnel as it was under FDA emergency use authorization.
The U.S. military already requires 17 inoculations for its service members when they enter the military or before they deploy overseas, including for measles, mumps, diphtheria, hepatitis, smallpox and the flu.
The Pentagon chief has already put the military on notice that he may go that route should infection rates rise even faster due to the highly contagious delta variant.
Kirby has previously said once the vaccine mandate is in place, “there could be administrative and disciplinary repercussions” for failing to receive it. »