The White House has called on the Defense Department to look into "how and when" it will mandate military service members to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
During his Thursday media briefing, U.S President Joe Biden said that he will direct the Pentagon to study adding Covid vaccinations to its list of required vaccinations for members of the US military.
The Department of Defense has reportedly admitted that vaccination rates are around 50%, nothing higher than what the rest of the nation has accumulated.
This happens as the Delta variant continues to wreak havoc across the United States, with several states imposing masks indoors and outdoors regardless of the vaccine status.
Places like restaurants, eateries and bars have also started mandating vaccines for staff, guests and clients before servicing them.
Several universities across the country have also instituted a vaccine mandate for all staff, students, and for on-campus residence.
The COVID-19 vaccine being mandated by these institutions has been put in place, regardless of the FDA status.
With the military, it is imperative that they have the Covid-vaccine and are ready to go at a moment’s notice, especially if they are going to be tasked with assisting areas that might have an outbreak.
This leads to the most profound question of why the military is yet to make vaccines mandatory for all active personnel?
The military should have been one of the first to mandate the vaccine
Military members share foxholes or barracks and have this trust among them where one trust the other with their lives during the war.
It then makes one wonder why some members -- those in the military and anti-vaccination -- have so little regard for the health of their fellows that they won't get the vaccine.
The military isn't being asked to do something new here. If general civilians are vaccinating, then surely different branches in the defence force should be getting jabs.
Kori Schake wrote a column to The Atlantic asking why the military is not mandating COVID-19 Vaccines, saying that service members must be protected against coronavirus.
In his opinion piece, Schake said that service members should be vaccinated in terms of military preparedness.
The most interesting thing to note from the column is that the Pentagon requires its service members to be vaccinated because of FDA approval.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration), has approved Covid-19 vaccines only under an "emergency-use" authorization.
With Arkansas reportedly shutting down recently due to a Delta variant outbreak, experts have started saying that the president should nationalize vaccine mandate at every guard unit.
Here's the vaccination data for the U.S. military as of June 30 with updated numbers set to be available in early August:
- About 68% of active-duty troops have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
- National Guard and Reserve component forces push this number to 51%
- The Navy leads vaccinations with 77% of active-duty members who have received at least one dose.
- In the Army, at least 70% of the members have been jabbed with one shot.
- The Air Force registered about 61% of the first dose of Covid-vaccine.
- And lastly, only 58% of those in the Marine Corps have received the first dose.
Mandating vaccines for the military is not going to be easy, seeing that In March, Army Lieutenant General Ronald Place spoke about the slow pace of members getting vaccinated.
We’re seeing individuals who may have been initially wary about the vaccine now come forward and ask for the shot. But rates have slowed in recent weeks.
For the U.S. military, getting any vaccine shots in the past has been prevalent. Especially when going on overseas missions, jabs are also taken to ensure effective protection.
Even just to deploy, officers line up and get their shots at medical with everyone else, and they always keep their shots up to date. And one develops allergies or reactions, and then they would be taken care of right away.
With President Biden having asked the military to make the vaccine mandatory, concerns surrounding the growing contagious Delta variant continue.
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