Pentagon requires COVID-19 vaccines for civilian employees by Nov. 22
All 700,000 Defense Department civilians are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 22, the Pentagon announced late Monday.
The mandate — in line with the Biden administration’s move last month to require federal agencies to implement vaccine requirements — “will save lives and allow for the defense of our Nation,” according to a memo signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks on Friday.
On Tuesday, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), said the move “will save lives and further protect communities across the United States from this deadly virus” and applauded it as “the right decision for our public health and our national security.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in late August ordered all service members and military personnel to “immediately begin” getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
He allowed the military services to set their own deadlines for the requirement, and Hicks’s memo stipulates the schedule for when civilian personnel must begin receiving the shots depending on brand.
Those who get the Food and Drug Administration-approved Pfizer vaccine need to receive their first dose by Oct. 18 and the second by Nov. 8.
Individuals who choose the Moderna vaccine have a slightly different schedule, with their first dose needed by Oct. 11 and their second by Nov. 8.
Those receiving the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, meanwhile, have until Nov. 8.
No exceptions are given to personnel who have already contracted and recovered from COVID-19.
More than 372,000 coronavirus cases — 67,000 of which were civilians — have been reported among defense personnel. About 1,930 civilians have been hospitalized and 321 have died, according to Pentagon data from last Wednesday.