Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin may announce as soon as Friday that all active duty service members will be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to reports from multiple news outlets, such as Fox News and CNN.

No order had been issued by ADC On Base’s publication deadline early Friday morning.

When President Joe Biden announced that federal employees and contractors would be required to “attest to” their vaccination status or take regular COVID-19 tests, he also directed DOD to determine “how and when” to add the shots to the department’s list of mandatory vaccinations.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he would act quickly after consulting with the military services and medical professionals.

“We won’t let grass grow under our feet,” Austin told reporters last week. “The President directed us to do something, and we’ll get after it.”

DOD had previously indicated it may wait until the fall to make the vaccine mandatory. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to fully authorize the vaccine by then. It is currently approved only on an emergency basis.

But a new peak in cases across the country – especially in communities with low vaccination rates – is evidently speeding up the process. The Pentagon may need a special presidential waiver to require the shots while the FDA finalizes the studies that are widely expected to lead to full authorization.

Check out DOD’s COVID-19 info site.

Air Force photo by Joshua J. Seybert

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