Biden Backs Mandatory COVID Vaccine for Service Members
President Joe Biden is expressing his support for a vaccine mandate for members of the U.S. military.
In a statement on Monday, Biden said, “I strongly support Secretary Austin’s message to the Force today on the Department of Defense’s plan to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccinations for our service members not later than mid-September.”
“These vaccines will save lives. Period. They are safe. They are effective. Over 350 million shots have been given in the United States alone. Being vaccinated will enable our service members to stay healthy, to better protect their families, and to ensure that our force is ready to operate anywhere in the world,” he continued.
Finally, Biden said, “We are still on a wartime footing, and every American who is eligible should take immediate steps to get vaccinated right away. I am proud that our military women and men will continue to help lead the charge in the fight against this pandemic, as they so often do, by setting the example of keeping their fellow Americans safe.”
Read the statement below:
NEW: @POTUS on @DeptofDefense vaccine mandate for service members pic.twitter.com/7brM0QQhOB
— Andrew Feinberg (@AndrewFeinberg) August 9, 2021
On Monday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he would require U.S. service members to get vaccinated against the coronavirus by Sept. 15.
He added that if coronavirus infections rise and impact military readiness, “I will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the President if l feel the need to do so. To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force.”
Austin’s decision to require vaccinations comes as the U.S. is recording an average of 110,360 new coronavirus cases per day, a 112% increase from the previous 14 days.
The rise in new cases has sparked a debate around vaccine mandates.
In July, Biden implemented new vaccination rules for federal government employees and contractors that require workers to attest to their vaccination status or follow new mask mandates and be subjected to weekly testing and social distancing requirements.
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