The contentious COVID-19 Vax Mandate has pushed more than 8,400 troops out of the military for refusing to obey the law requiring them to get the vaccine. This vax mandate fringed on individual and religious rights. It hurt our Armed Forces. The vax mandate made us a weaker nation. The Pentagon has finally acknowledged this. The decision was made to rescind the vax mandate on December 23. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had 30 days to put the rescinded legislation into full affect. As of Tuesday, the vax mandate is no longer in effect for U.S. Troops.
The Statement: “The Department will continue to promote and encourage COVID-19 vaccination for all service members,” Austin said in the memo. “Vaccination enhances operational readiness and protects the force.” Austin said that commanders have the authority to maintain unit readiness and a healthy force. He added, however, that other department policies — including mandates for other vaccines — remain in place. That includes, he said, “the ability of commanders to consider, as appropriate, the individual immunization status of personnel in making deployment, assignment, and other operational decisions, including when vaccination is required for travel to, or entry into, a foreign nation.”
The Mandate: Austin implemented the vax mandate in 2021 when Pfizer’s vax was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The Associated Press reports that roughly 99% of active-duty troops in the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps had gotten the vaccine, and 98% of the Army. The Guard and Reserve rates are lower, but generally are more than 90%. Even with this high rate of vaccination, more than 8,400 troops were forced out because they refused the vaccine. The Associated Press states that those who were discharged for refusing to obey a lawful order to take the vaccine received either an honorable discharge or a general discharge under honorable conditions.
The Legislation: Lawmakers saw this not only as a violation of personal rights, but also a hinderance to recruitment. With the vax mandate rescinded, lawmakers hope to increase the recruitment into the military which has been in a steady decline over the last couple of years. Rescinding the vax mandate is a beacon of hope that the world is starting to return to a pre-COVID era.