The Pentagon will order a compulsory vaccine for all military personnel amid the coronavirus pandemic if they fail to get vaccinated in the timeline given. Most governments mandated frontline workers to get vaccinated so that they could execute their duties while being protected from the virus. During the enforcement of legal travel and gathering restrictions, frontline workers, which included the police, security, and military agents, were used to carry out this task and ensure that people adhere to all the restrictions belted out by the governments. It then became necessary for such workers to be vaccinated to enable their safety when moving around the citizens nationwide.
Vaccines prove to be a viable option against the virus, and humanity has pinned all their hope on the jabs. Due to this, most employers are mobilizing their employees to receive their jabs. Other departments have resorted to mandatory vaccination cards to be shown when one comes to the workplace. Government officials and prominent figures were recorded live while getting jabbed as a way to motivate all the other citizens to follow suit. Before the introduction of vaccines, a lot of frontline workers succumbed to covid because they could not stay indoors as their services were needed on a daily basis by the public.
Such trades which were forced to continue working during the lockdowns period included nurses, military, polices, local councils, among others, so it becomes pertinent for these employees to be fully protected because they also pose a threat of spreading the virus to the public when executing their roles. From this background, the US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin plans to follow through with the president’s directive of vaccinating all troops and military civilians. The Pentagon incorporates the nation’s defense and security systems which are continuously operating with personnel present on the ground. Even when the pandemic intensified, operations at the Pentagon did not stop since it is a vital organ in the nation that needs to keep on ‘living.’
According to an announcement on Monday, the secretary clearly stated that all employees under the Defense Department, including active-duty military personnel, civilians, and private contractors, are likely to get vaccinated soon. Secretary Austin wrote a letter to the military force, which is accessible in full on [Source], in which he was expressing the plans of vaccinating all military force. The letter states, “To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force. I strongly encourage all DoD military and civilian personnel – as well as contractor personnel – to get vaccinated now and for military Service members not to wait for the mandate.”
He went on to say, “Based on the consultations and additional discussions with the leaders of the White House COVID Task Force, I want you to know that I will seek the President’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September [Source], or immediately upon the U.S. Food and Drug Agency (FDA) licensure, whichever comes first.”
This seems like a grace period for the military personnel to get jabbed before it is legally ‘ordered’ by their government. It was a period given to commanders to prepare for the transition fully, and the secretary contended how he would not hesitate to move up the date or take another route if he feels so [Source]. Initially, when vaccines were approved and authorized for use, nations’ leaders packaged it as a voluntary process where those willing to get vaccinated can do so. But with the continuous devastating effects of covid and the emerging of diverse variants, governments are now being pressured by health departments to get people vaccinated.
The Pentagon did not release any statement regarding individuals who might reject the idea since it is a hot issue as some people are against mandatory vaccination. Pentagon’s spokesman John Kirby revealed how services towards the documentation of those who have been vaccinated would be launched. If the jabs become mandatory, each member’s jabs will be centered on one’s digital record. This shows how determined Pentagon is in undertaking its strategy. Secretary Austin took this decision after consulting top military leaders and health officials who found it necessary to protect personnel responsible for safekeeping the country.
He dismissed all controversies surrounding vaccines, with the popular one alluding to how vaccines are a conspiracy against humankind. The internet is always buzzing with those theories propounded by different people, and they tend to influence the public against getting vaccinated. A lot of world leaders were motivated to address their citizens in regards to the safety of vaccines, and other presidents got vaccinated live on television as a way to show that vaccines were safe and should be used in fighting covid-19. So far, vaccines are the only available solution recommended by medical officials. Vaccine developers and manufacturers aired out that several trials were conducted to prove the safety of their products, and the results concluded that they are safe and effective against the virus.
The secretary said, “All FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective,” so “They will protect you and your family. They will protect your unit, your ship, and your co-workers. And they will ensure we remain the most lethal and ready force in the world.”
The US is among the top-ranked developed countries which have trusted scientific research departments. Hence their scientists are trustworthy in terms of producing reliable vaccines. Currently, heated discussions dominate forums in which people debate if it is ‘right’ for the Biden administration to introduce a mandatory vaccination program for employees. Others are pondering if the military is going to force the serving members to get jabbed. Some military commanders and generals are urging the troops to listen to the secretary. Navy General Rear Adm commented on the vaccines by saying, “This is biologic armor,” so one must “put it one” and be “protected.”
A report on military personnel vaccinated so far revealed only 50% of marines received their jabs and others refused, citing how they were deemed unsuitable for pregnant women and kids. The reports also show that 70% of active-duty members got vaccinated, which means a big chunk is yet to receive the doses.
Arguments have been paraded stating that the military departments cannot force troops in such a manner, but it was highlighted that the president can override those terms under the “interests of national security” as suggested by Duke University’s Lawfare blog [Source].
The Chair of the National Security Department, Robert Sanders, referred back to anthrax emergency where all serving members of military sectors received medical treatment against the disease so that this procedure might be applied for the covid vaccines. Mr. Sanders further explained that it might not violate the personnel’s constitutional rights. Retired Marine Corps Major General Arnold Punaro stated that “Taking vaccines is nothing new for the Department of Defense and our military. We had to take vaccines going into Vietnam, and we had to take the Anthrax shot going into Iraq.”
Only time will tell if the military personnel will heed the secretary’s call or wait for a mandatory order from the president’s office. But as the country is facing the Delta variant, it becomes pertinent for everyone to join the fight against corona.