On Wednesday, the Associated Press and POLITICO reported that the Department of Defense intends to rapidly require COVID-19 immunization for all remaining unvaccinated troops.
"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,'" said the report. "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, the Defense Department is adding it to the list of required shots troops must get as part of their military service."
The plan to require COVID-19 vaccinations in the military has been in the works for weeks, and comes as the FDA fully approves the Pfizer vaccine — the first of the vaccines to move out of so-called "emergency use authorization."
The military already mandates a number of vaccines for enlistees, including chickenpox, hepatitis A and B, influenza, MMR, pneumococcal, polio, rabies, Tdap, and typhoid.
"The memo, which was obtained by The Associated Press, does not dictate a specific timeline for completing the vaccinations," continued the report. "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."