Politics

Pentagon walks back long-standing COVID vaccine mandate

The Pentagon announced this week that it has rescinded its mandate on COVID-19 vaccinations for active US troops, a measure that has been in place since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced on Tuesday that the mandate was ending effective immediately, and will reinstate the records of troops who denied the vaccine on religious or other grounds during the mandate.

The announcement says no troops currently serving in the US military “shall be separated [from the military] solely on the basis of their refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

Austin also praised the efforts of the United States military in combating the coronavirus pandemic, saying he is “deeply proud” of the armed services for their role in getting the country through the pandemic. He also revealed the records of those who previously denied the vaccine would be wiped clean of those notations.

“The military departments will update the records of such individuals to remove any adverse actions solely associated with denials of such requests, including letters of reprimand,” said Austin.

The Department of Defense will have a 30-day period in which to prepare for the end of the mandate, during which no troops will be discharged, reprimanded, or receive any other “adverse actions.”

The Department of Defense reports 690 total deaths from COVID-19 and almost 800,000 total cases throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Army reported the most cases with almost 150,000.

The announcement comes as the US and other countries brace for a possible surge in COVID cases in the coming cold months. 

ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: NEWS.USNI.ORG

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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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