An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Vermont National Guard Logo News
Articles
News | Aug. 9, 2021

Biden to approve Austin's request to make COVID-19 vaccine mandatory

By Jim Garamone DOD News

By mid-September, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III will request a waiver from President Joe Biden to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for service members, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said today.

Austin released a message to the troops saying that after consultations with senior civilian and military officials, making vaccinations mandatory is the best way forward. More than 73 percent of active duty personnel have received at least one shot of the vaccines to date.

President Biden replied almost immediately.

"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," Biden said in a message released by the White House. "Secretary Austin and I share an unshakable commitment to making sure our troops have every tool they need to do their jobs as safely as possible. 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."

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to give full approval to the vaccines, possibly by the end of the month, Kirby said. If that happens, Austin will immediately add the vaccines to the mandatory military list, Kirby said.

The services have time to plan how they will implement the program, and they have been working on how they will vaccinate the rest of the active and reserve component. Kirby said there is no shortage of vaccine and the department does not think this will be a limiting factor. 

A full third of Austin's message to the force urged service members not to wait: To get the vaccine right away. "You can consider this memo, not just a warning order to the services, but to the troops themselves," Kirby said. "We certainly hope that they will take advantage of the opportunity to get the vaccines now that are available now to them on a voluntary basis. That's obviously the potential effect that we'd like to see achieved as a result of the secretary's message. But if they don't, eventually we're going to get to a mandatory sort of regimen and we'll take care of it then."

National Guard News
Col. Gen. Karim Valiyeva, first deputy minister of defense and chief of the general staff of the Azerbaijan Army, presents a gift to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art Nov. 30, 2022. Oklahoma National Guard leaders and a delegation from Azerbaijan met to celebrate their 20-year partnership under the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program.
Oklahoma Guard, Azerbaijan Celebrate 20-year Partnership
By Leanna Maschino, | Dec. 2, 2022
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma National Guard leaders and an Azerbaijan delegation gathered at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their partnership under the State Partnership Program.“Over the...

On Thanksgiving Day, there was an in-flight medical emergency on Delta flight 1253 from Albany, N.Y., to Atlanta. Master Sgt. Daniel Conley, a senior aerospace medical technician of the 105th Medical Group, Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh, New York, helped assess and care for the passenger.
New York Guardsman Responds to In-flight Medical Emergency
By Tech. Sgt. Daniel Hotter, | Dec. 2, 2022
ALBANY, N.Y. – An ordinary Thanksgiving Day flight turned into an effort to save a life for New York Air National Guard Master Sgt. Daniel Conley, a medical technician assigned to the 105th Airlift Wing.The Nov. 24 trip of...

40th Infantry Division Soldiers take a group photo in their division tactical command post area during Warfighter Exercise 23-2 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, Nov. 9, 2022. A warfighter exercise is a 10-day training event used as a capstone for division and corps echelons and is typically conducted biannually.
California National Guard Trains with 3rd Infantry Division
By Maj. Orlandon Howard, | Dec. 2, 2022
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - The Georgia-based 3rd Infantry Division and California-based National Guard 40th Infantry Division conducted warfighter exercises at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and Camp Atterbury, Indiana, supported by...

Louisiana National Guardsmen assigned to the 225th Engineer Brigade review a map during Warfighter 23-2 at Fort Stewart, Georgia, Nov. 1, 2022.
Louisiana Guard Engineers Participate in Warfighter Exercise
By 1st Lt. Jamie Green, | Dec. 2, 2022
PINEVILLE, La. – The Louisiana Army National Guard’s 225th Engineer Brigade participated in a warfighter exercise at Fort Stewart, Georgia, Oct. 31–Nov. 15.Warfighter is a tactical command post-exercise to assess unit...

Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Moseman, a New York Army National Guard recruiter, loads a Christmas tree into a FedEx truck at the Ellms Family Farm in Ballston Spa, N.Y., Nov. 28, 2022. Moseman and other recruiters were participating in Trees for Troops, helping local tree farms donate Christmas trees to families of service members.
New York National Guard Soldiers Share Holiday Spirit
By Sgt. Andrew Valenza, | Dec. 2, 2022
BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. – Two dozen New York National Guard Soldiers helped spread the holiday spirit by volunteering to load donated Christmas trees bound for service members and their families across the country.The Soldiers...