The US Department of Defense (DoD) has issued a mandate requiring military members to provide proof of vaccination status or face strict safety protocols aimed at limiting the spread of Covid-19, just hours after President Joe Biden announced the requirements for all federal workers.
“In accordance with the guidance the President issued today, all military and civilian DoD personnel will be asked to attest to their vaccination status,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Jamal Brown said in a statement late Thursday.
Personnel who are unable or unwilling to do so will be required to wear a mask, submit to regular testing, and face official travel restrictions, according to Brown.
Earlier in the day, Biden announced during a speech at the White House that every federal government employee and onsite contractor must attest to their vaccination status, or they will be required to wear a mask on the job, comply with a regular screening testing requirement, and face restrictions on official travel.
The President also directed the Pentagon to investigate adding the Covid-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccinations for military personnel.
In response to the presidential directive, Brown said in the statement that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will “begin consulting our medical professionals, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to determine how and when to make recommendations to the President with respect to adding the Covid-19 vaccines to the full list of requirements for military personnel”.
The new requirements come as the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant causes a nationwide spike in virus cases, wreaking havoc on the unvaccinated.
“Covid-19 remains a significant and evolving threat to our nation’s security. The rise of the Delta variant and the speed with which it transmits make these additional protective efforts all the more vital to protecting our force and the nation we defend,” read the Pentagon statement.
The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that everyone inside its facilities must wear a mask.