Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Pentagon To Require Troops To Get Covid Vaccines ASAP

Military Troops must Immediately begin to get the Covid-19 Vaccine, Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, said in a Memo Wednesday, ordering Service Leaders to “impose ambitious timelines for implementation.”

More than 800,000 Service Members have yet to get their Shots, according to Pentagon Data. And now that the Pfizer Vaccine has Received Full Approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Defense Department is adding it to the List of required Shots Troops must get as part of their Military Service.

The Memo does Not dictate a Specific Timeline for Completing the Vaccinations. But it says the Military Services will have to Report regularly on their Progress. A Senior Defense Official said that Austin has made it clear to the Services that he expects them to move Quickly, and that this will be completed in Weeks not Months.

“To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force,” Austin said in the Memo. “After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people.”

Troops will be able to get their Pfizer Shots at their Bases and from their Commands around the World. The Pentagon has said it has enough Vaccine Supply to meet Demand. Individual Service Members may also go out and get any of the other Covid Vaccines on their own.

Fulfilling the Vaccine Mandate, however, may be a Challenge for National Guard Forces who are scattered around the Country, and gather just Once a Month for their required Drills.

According to the Pentagon, there are more than 1.3 Million Troops on Active Duty and Close to 800,000 in the Guard and Reserve. And, as of Aug. 18th, more than 1 Million Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve, Service Members were fully Vaccinated and nearly 245,000 more had received at least One Shot.

Senior Military Leaders have consistently pressed their Forces to get Vaccines through a wide range of Public Pleas, and via Social Media and other Campaigns. But, as is true among the U.S. Population, many Service Members have been reluctant.

Defense Officials have said it's Critical for Troops to get the Vaccine because they Live and Work closely together and Outbreaks could hamper the U.S. Military's Ability to Defend America.

Austin’s Decision to Mandate the Vaccine fulfills, a vow he made earlier this month, to Require it No later than Mid-September. His move reflects similar Actions by Governments and Companies around the World, as Nations Struggle with the highly Contagious Delta Variant that has sent U.S. Cases surging to heights Not seen since last fall.

Hospitalizations and Deaths are increasing among the Military. Over the past month, the Number of Service Member Deaths jumped from 25 to 34. “Our vaccination of the Force will save lives,” said the Austin Memo. “Thank you for your focus on this critical mission.”

Members of the U.S. Military are already required to get as many as 17 different Vaccines, depending on where they are Deployed. The Requirements, which include Shots for Smallpox, Hepatitis, Polio, and the Flu, also provide for a number of Temporary and Permanent Exemptions for either Medical or Administrative reasons.

Austin in the Memo, noted that the New Requirement will allow for Exemptions that are consistent with the current Policies for All the other Vaccines. Permanent Exemptions include: serious Medical Reactions to the Vaccine; Immune Deficiencies such as HIV Infection; Evidence of Existing Immunity by a Serologic Antibody Test; or Documentation of previous Infection or Natural Infection presumed.

There also are Administrative Exemptions, including Religious Reasons. The Religious Exemption is Granted by the Military Services based on their Policies, and it appears to be relatively Rare. The Decision is made by commanders based on Consultation with Medical Personnel and Chaplains.

The Navy and the Marine Corps said, they have had Zero Religious Exemption Requests for other Vaccines in recent years. The Air Force said there were few. The Army was Not able to provide any Data.

The Pentagon Decision currently only applies to the Pfizer Vaccine.

I received my shots at the VA. I will be eligible for the Booster Shot, the Fist week of October.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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