SPONSORED:

Pentagon: More troops that initially rejected COVID-19 vaccine now taking it

Pentagon: More troops that initially rejected COVID-19 vaccine now taking it
© Getty Images

More military members and civilians are accepting COVID-19 vaccines after initially opting out, Defense officials told reporters on Friday.

“We’re seeing individuals who may have initially been wary about the vaccine now come forward and ask for it. I expect that trend to continue,” Defense Health Agency Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Place told reporters at the Pentagon.  

More than 600,000 service members, or 30 percent of the force, have received at least one dose of the vaccine, but roughly 60 percent of the force has not yet been offered it as they are in the final tier of eligibility, similar to most U.S. jurisdictions, Place said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“As we move through those tiers, we know who accepted and who didn’t come in or didn’t try to make an appointment, that sort of thing. But when we know who’s gotten it, we circle back to those who haven’t and offer it again, on an iterative basis,” he said. “And as we offer it, many who at first just declined the opportunity are now taking us up on that opportunity.”

He added that some military members or civilians are asked three or four times before they decide to get the shot.

“Once you’ve been contacted, you’re forever eligible,” Place said.

The revelation comes a month after a Joint Staffer member revealed that a third of service members had decided not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when offered.

The Pentagon has since insisted that those numbers aren’t certain as it does not gather data on how many of those offered have turned down the vaccine.

Defense spokesman John Kirby has repeatedly pressed that Maj. Gen. Jeff Taliaferro — the Joint Staff vice director for operations who told lawmakers the vaccine figures — was simply citing broad data on vaccine acceptance rates that “mirror” trends in American society.  

Place said he was confident the military will open vaccinations to every eligible person on almost all military installations on or before May 1, on par with President BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE’s goal.