Pentagon issues vax mandate following Biden's order

Washington, Jul 30 (IANS): The US Department of Defense (DoD) has issued a mandate requiring members of the military to provide a proof of their vaccination status or be subject to strict safety protocols aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19, 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 unable or unwilling to do that would be required to wear a mask, comply with a regular testing requirement and be subject to official travel restrictions, Brown said.

Earlier in the day, Biden announced during a speech at the White House that every federal government employee and the onsite contractor should 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 be subject to restrictions on official travel, reports Xinhua news agency.

The President also directed the Pentagon to look into adding the Covid-19 shot to its list of required vaccinations for members of the military.

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 came as the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant is causing a nationwide spike in virus cases, taking a particularly worrisome toll on the non-vaccinated.

"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.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced that everyone inside its facilities are required to wear a mask.


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