WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Members of the US military will have to receive coronavirus vaccines by September 15, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memorandum to soldiers, obtained by Associated Press on Monday.
The announcement comes amid decisions by the Biden administration and governors to begin placing restrictions on state and federal employees who are unvaccinated or refuse to attest to their vaccination status. Private companies such as Google have likewise begun to re-implement extra restrictions on unvaccinated employees.
Austin said in the memorandum that service members will have the next several weeks to prepare to implement the vaccine mandate. The coronavirus shots will be added to the list of vaccinations that soldiers are required to get, which can number as high as 17 depending on where they serve.
US President Joe Biden on Monday expressed support for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s decision to require all military members to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus by September 15.
Biden said he was proud of the US military for helping to lead the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and “setting the example of keeping their fellow Americans safe.”
According to the Defense Department, more than 1 million service members have already been fully vaccinated.