The Department of Defense won’t suspend the C-19 vaccine mandate, compelling a large portion of the US military to get jabbed.
Republicans claim that the vaccine mandate gave birth to tough questions on readiness and morale, with concerns that discharging unvaccinated troops will cripple the armed forces.
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“This haphazardly implemented and politically motivated vaccine mandate must be immediately suspended or risk irrevocable damage to our national security,” Sen. Jim Inhofe wrote in the letter from October 18 to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby stated that the department is familiar with Inhofe’s letter and concerns and “will reply to them appropriately.”
“That said, Secretary Austin remains convinced that our vaccination regimen—which has helped us achieve a fully vaccinated rate of nearly 85 percent in the active component and more than 66 percent across the active, guard, and reserve components—is, in fact, one of the surest ways to bolster our readiness for the challenges we face around the world,” Kirby said.
“He remains comfortable with the service-appropriate ways in which each military department is pursuing their mandatory vaccination program. A vaccinated force is a protected force, better able to deploy and to defend our interests around the world.”
The latest statistics shared by Pentagon, hundreds of thousands of troops are unvaccinated a couple of weeks before the deadlines start arriving. Some of them refuse to get the vaccine due to religious or medical exemptions. But, few of the apps were acted upon. Branch spokesperson declined to comment if some of the exemptions were approved or rejected.
The deadlines start on November 2 for active-duty Air Force personnel. The Coast Guard members have to get the vaccines as soon as operations allow.
Pentagon, at this point, faces numerous lawsuits due to the mandates, among which is the class action suit filed in federal court on October 15, Florida.