This was announced by the Pentagon, which set September 15 as the deadline for members of the armed forces to be inoculated.
The United States will require that all US armed forces members be vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 15, according to a memorandum obtained by the AP agency. The deadline could be advanced if the vaccine receives formal approval from the US health agency or if infection rates rise.
I will get presidential approval for vaccines that come after mid-September or immediately after being licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), whichever comes first.," said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in the memorandum to the troops asking them to prepare for the requirement. "I will not hesitate to act before or recommend a different course to the president if I feel the need to do so," he added.
For his part, President Joe Biden said he "strongly" supports Lloyd Austin's decision to vaccinate all military members.
"Secretary Austin and I share an unwavering commitment to making sure our troops have all the tools they need to do their jobs in the safest way possible. These vaccines will save lives. Point. They are safe. They are effective. In the United States alone, more than 350 million doses have been administered. Vaccination will keep our service members healthy, better protect their families, and ensure that our force is ready to work anywhere in the world.
"said the Democratic president, through a statement published by the White House.
Biden reiterated that you could not lower your arms in the fight against COVID-19, especially now that the Delta variant is spreading rapidly among the not vaccinated population.
"We are still on the warpath, and all eligible Americans should get vaccinated immediately. I am proud that our military men and women continue to help lead the fight against this epidemic, as they often do by setting an example to keep their fellow Americans safe., "added the US president.
A week ago, Biden instructed the military to prepare a plan requiring troops to receive the vaccine as part of the campaign to generalize inoculation to the federal workforce. This reflects similar decisions by governments and companies worldwide, as nations grapple with the delta variant that is most contagious and has led to new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States at levels not seen since last winter's peaks.
Austin says in his memo that the military will have the next few weeks to prepare, determine how many vaccines they need, and how this mandate will be implemented. It also allows the FDA to give final approval to the Pfizer vaccine, which is expected early next month.
Soldiers often live in barracks and on ships and work closely, which increases the risk of rapid spread. And any major corona outbreak within the military could affect America's ability to defend itself in any national security crisis.
The Austin memo also states that in the meantime, the Pentagon will comply with Biden's order to impose additional sanctions on any federal official who has not been vaccinated.
Those restrictions will include wearing face masks, social distancing, and limiting travel.
According to the Pentagon, more than 1 million soldiers are fully vaccinated, and another 237,000 have received an injection.