The top enlisted leaders in the Navy and Marine Corps said this week that service members should be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine as virus spread rises again, Marine Corps Times reported.

“You can go out into town, you can get contact with it, you can bring it back,” Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith said. “You have to [vaccinate] everyone.”

Smith was on a panel at the Sea-Air-Space conference alongside Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black. When Black was asked whether mandatory vaccines were necessary, he simply said “yes,” according to the report.

President Joe Biden has directed the Pentagon to demand regular testing for those who won’t “attest to” their vaccination status. He also said the Pentagon should explore “how and when” to add the COVID-19 shots to the list of mandatory vaccinations.

The shots have been voluntary so far, in part because the Food and Drug Administration has only authorized them for emergency use as it continues testing them for full authorization.

Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samuel Lyden

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