Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Secretary of Defense Mandates COVID-19 Vaccinations for Service Members

Image of An Army medic administers the COVID-19 vaccine to another soldier. Army Spc. Tyler Boyer administers the COVID-19 vaccine to another soldier at Fort Carson, Colo., Aug 3, 2021. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III issued a memorandum directing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for service members. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Andrew Greenwood)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Secretary has determined - after careful consultation with medical experts and military leaders and with the support of the president - that mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for service members are necessary to protect the health and readiness of the force, Kirby said. 

On Aug. 23, the FDA gave full approval to the Comirnaty vaccine - previously known as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine - for individuals 16 years of age and older. Before Aug. 23, the vaccine was available for use through and FDA emergency use authorization. 

Kirby said vaccines other than Cominaty will not be made mandatory, but that could change if the FDA issues full approval for others. 

The memo directed the secretaries of the military departments to immediately begin full vaccination of all members of the department on active duty or in the Guard or Reserve, who aren't yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Service members who are actively participating in COVID-19 clinical trials are exempt from mandatory vaccination until the trial is complete to avoid invalidating clinical trial results, the memo states. 

Military personnel administering the COVID-19 vaccine
Army Spec. Dorien Lewis, a combat medic with Division Sustainment Troops Battalion MEDOPS, 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to an Army soldier at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Aug. 17, 2021. Medics across Camp Arifjan held a COVID-19 vaccine drive for personnel that are not fully vaccinated (Photo by: Army Sgt. Marquis Hopkins). 

The secretaries are also directed to "impose ambitious timelines for implementation and to report regularly on vaccination completion using establishment systems for other mandatory vaccine reporting," the memo states. 

"The secretary has communicated to the military department to execute this mandatory vaccination program with, obviously, skill and professionalism, which we also do, but also with a measure of compassion," Kirby said. 

Service members with preexisting conditions who are advised against being vaccinated by their doctors would be exempt from mandatory vaccinations, Kirby said, adding their may also be possible exemptions on religious grounds. 

Service members outside those two categories who still object will be offered a chance to sit down with a physician and have that physician communicate to them the risks that they're taking by being unvaccinated, Kirby said. 

They'll also be offered a chance to sit down with those in their chains of command to talk about the risks that their objection will impose on the unit and on the fore on their teammates, he added. 

"Commanders have a wide range of tools available to them to help their teammates make the right decision for themselves, for the families, for their units, and the secreatroy expects that they commanders will use those tools, short of having to use the UCMJ," he said,  referring to the Uniform COVID of Military Justice. 

You also may be interested in...

Unit Leader Vaccine Conversation Guide

Publication
5/24/2021

This guide offers approaches and illustrative examples for preparation, delivery, and navigation of small group discussions (recommended 1-5 people to facilitate greatest engagement) with servicemembers reluctant or indifferent to accepting the vaccine. The guide promotes an open dialogue regarding vaccine hesitancy and complacency by addressing concerns, building trust, and boosting vaccine confidence.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vax Facts

Provider Vaccine Conversation Guide

Publication
5/24/2021

This guide offers approaches and illustrative examples for Military Health System (MHS) providers to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with servicemembers during routine visits. Initiating a COVID-19 vaccine conversation during servicemember visits will allow you to effectively address concerns, build trust, and boost vaccine confidence.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vax Facts

Adirim, Place laud DHA response to COVID-19 in briefing

Article
5/21/2021
Defense Health Agency Director Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place speaking at a press conference

Dr. Terry Adirim, acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, and Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, provided a COVID-19 update during a Pentagon press briefing.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

Vax Facts: Risk and Precautions

Video
5/20/2021
Vax Facts: Risk and Precautions

If you're fully vaccinated, there are options for safer activities. Watch to learn what activities you can resume once you're fully vaccinated.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Vax Facts: Recommendations for Pregnancy

Video
5/20/2021
Vax Facts: Recommendations for Pregnancy

The COVID vaccine is recommended for pregnant people. Watch to learn how your doctor can help you make the best decision for you and your baby.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Vax Facts: I'm fully vaccinated. What can I do?

Video
5/20/2021
Vax Facts: I'm fully vaccinated. What can I do?

If you're fully vaccinated, there are options for safer activities. Watch to learn what activities you can resume once you're fully vaccinated.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Sailors continue to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Article
5/20/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

Sailors continue to voluntarily receive one of the three available COVID-19 vaccines.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID Vax Fact Children Get Vaccine

Infographic
5/19/2021
COVID Vax Fact Children Get Vaccine

Graphic saying that the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children ages 12 to 15 and that children should be vaccinated. Graphic includes the TRICARE logo on the bottom right, and outlines of medical related items on the left of the page.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts

MHS quickly adapted to improve patient experience during pandemic

Article
5/19/2021
Military health personnel waiting for the next phone call on the COVID-19 advice line

MHS adapted technology to boost patient experience during pandemic

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

DHA Director visits MCAGCC to hear from the ‘Boots on the Ground’

Article
5/19/2021
Military personnel wearing face masks walking

DHA Director visits Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Military Health System Transformation | Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Pharmacy Options During COVID-19

Infographic
5/17/2021
Pharmacy Options During COVID-19

This Infographic describes the ways your military pharmacy's operational status may changed based on local COVID-19 conditions.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Pharmacy Operations Toolkit

Pharmacy Beneficiary Options

Infographic
5/17/2021
Pharmacy Beneficiary Options

This Infographic describes your pharmacy options if your military pharmacy is closed due to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Pharmacy Operations Toolkit

Palliative care provides comfort to COVID-19 patients, families

Article
5/17/2021
Military health personnel taking care of a patient

Medical Center team develops palliative care toolkit for COVID-19 patients

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

Military medicine heroes recognized for COVID-19 pandemic response

Article
5/17/2021
Photo of the virtual "Heroes of Military Medicine" award ceremony

COVID-19 pandemic will affect military medicine for years to come, DHA Director Place tells HJF awards ceremony.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

Pharmacy Home Delivery

Fact Sheet
5/17/2021

This Fact Sheet describes three ways to get a 90-day supply of your medications, and how to change your prescription to home delivery.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Pharmacy Operations Toolkit
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 136 - 150 Page 10 of 34
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 30, 2021

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.