The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, ordered on Wednesday the immediate mandatory vaccination against covid-19 of all soldiers in the country.
In a notice sent to the heads of all military departments, Austin called for the immunization of all troops, both active duty and reserve, who have not yet been vaccinated.
In a press conference at the Pentagon, his spokesman, John Kirby, explained that vaccines that have been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be administered.
So far, the only vaccine serum that has received full FDA approval is that of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. The other two vaccines being administered in the country, Moderna’s and Johnson&Johnson’s, are only approved for emergency use.
Asked about the possibility that there may be soldiers reluctant to vaccinate, Kirby said this is “a legal mandate.”
“And we anticipate that our troops are going to follow legal mandates. When you raise your right hand and take the oath, that’s what you agree to do,” implying that soldiers do not have the right to make that decision individually.
The spokesman added that commanders have “many tools available” to get the vaccination rate up and get soldiers to make “the right decision without having to resort to disciplinary action.”
On August 9, the Pentagon announced that it was ordering all active duty military to be vaccinated against covid-19 starting in September.