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The Pentagon plans to seek authorization to add COVID-19 shots to the list of mandatory vaccinations for active-duty troops as soon as this week.
President Joe Biden had instructed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to “look into how and when” the Pentagon can mandate COVID-19 immunization, and Austin’s “inclination is toward making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory,” a defense official told CNN on Wednesday.
The federal Food and Drug Administration has granted only emergency use authorization (EUA) for the three COVID-19 vaccines — Pfizer, Modern, and Johnson & Johnson — so Austin will need a presidential waiver to require it before it is fully approved by the FDA.
Austin is expected to “seek authorization to make it mandatory,” the defense official said.
The Pentagon had intended to wait for full FDA approval, but the White House is encouraging vaccination to stem the tide of COVID-19 infections amid the rise of the delta variant.
A Justice Department memo last month outlined the presidential waiver as a path to mandate that active-duty troops get the EUA-only vaccinations.
“Because DOD has informed us that it understandably does not want to convey inaccurate or confusing information to service members — that is, telling them that they have the ‘option’ to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine if they effectively lack such an option because of a military order — DOD should seek a presidential waiver before it imposes a vaccination requirement.” CONTINUE READING ON NEWSMAX.