Pentagon Lifts Obligation Of Covid-19 Vaccines For US Troops. PHOTO/Reuters
WASHINGTON – Defense Minister United States of America (USA), Lloyd Austin on Tuesday (10/1/2023) canceled the vaccine mandate Covid-19 the pentagon. A move requested by the US Congress over its objections as part of the 2023 defense spending bill.
Austin wrote in a memo canceling the mandate – in which the Pentagon said more than 8,000 military personnel were laid off for refusing to comply. Austin also emphasized that he was very proud of the Department of Defense’s efforts to combat Covid-19.
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“We have increased the health of our service members and the readiness of troops, and we have provided life-saving assistance to the American people,” he wrote.
The memo also said the department would continue to encourage vaccinations, and notified commanders that they had a “responsibility and authority to safeguard the department’s urgent interest in the accomplishment of the mission.”
“This responsibility and authority includes the ability to maintain military readiness, unit cohesion, good order and discipline, and the health and safety of a resilient joint force,” he added.
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Personnel discharged from the military solely as a result of a mandate can apply to change the characterization of their discharge, the memo said, but made no mention of reinstatement — a move some Republican lawmakers have sought.
The requirement in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal 2023 for the mandate to end is a win for Republicans. Party members are pushing for a repeal of the mandate and have threatened to withhold the bill if it doesn’t lift the Covid-19 vaccination requirement.
Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy, who has since become the speaker of the House, argued the mandate influenced hiring – a statement the Pentagon has questioned.