Pentagon: 'Most Troops Will Respond Positively' to Vaccine Mandate (Nicolas Tucat /AFP via Getty Images)
By Theodore Bunker | Wednesday, 11 August 2021 05:18 PM
The Pentagon expects “most troops” to react well once the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate comes into effect, possibly in as soon as a few weeks, the Washington Examiner reports.
“Frankly, we believe that most troops will respond positively to the order, just like they do in every other mission-critical order that they're issued,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in an interview on Tuesday, the day after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that he intends to ask for President Joe Biden’s approval to mandate members of the military receive the COVID-19 vaccine if the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t give one of them fully approval before mid-September.
Kirby said in another interview that if the FDA does approve a vaccine, that would give Austin the authority to "go ahead [and] make them mandatory for the troops.”
He noted that any service member who is “just objecting because you’re objecting, once it has become mandatory, that’s a lawful order, and our expectation is that you’re going to obey the order. Nobody is looking for strong punitive disciplinary measures.
Kirby went on to say that “there are tools available to commanders short of disciplinary action to try to get soldiers to do the right thing.”
He also said that they will have “counseling provided to any member of the military who doesn’t want to take it for other reasons than religion or medical. And we’ll talk to them. Their command will talk to them. Medical professionals will talk to them, try to inform and educate, answer any questions that they have.”
Biden has previously iterated his support for a military vaccine mandate.
"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. 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," he said after the plan was announced.