Skip to main content

Military Health System

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 & the MHS Response | 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...

COVID-19: Bottom Line on Boosters

Infographic
9/19/2022
COVID-19: Bottom Line on Boosters

Bottom Line on Boosters: Stay up to date!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Novavax Vaccine

Infographic
8/18/2022
COVID-19 Novavax Vaccine

The Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanated includes two doses, 21 days apart. Remember to mark your calendar and schedule time for your second dose.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Types of COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccines

Infographic
8/18/2022
COVID-19 Vaccines

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work – There are three types of vaccines currently available: mRNA, subunit protein, and viral vector. Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccine. Novavax is a subunit protein vaccine. Janssen is a viral vector vaccine. All products resemble a virus for the immune system to fight.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Vax Fax: Should I Get A COVID-19 Booster Shot?

Infographic
7/1/2022
Vax Fax: Should I Get A COVID-19 Booster Shot?

Some people may be eligible for a second booster shot. Share this graphic to communicate who may be eligible.

Recommended Content:

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

Mask Guidance

Infographic
7/1/2022
Mask Guidance

Mask Guidance for Department of Defense Facilities.

Recommended Content:

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

Anyone Can Get Vaccinated

Infographic
7/1/2022
Anyone Can Get Vaccinated

Now that anyone 6 months and older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, share this graphic to encourage your community to get vaccinated.

Recommended Content:

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

Vax Facts: Should I Get a Second COVID-19 Booster Shot?

Infographic
7/1/2022
Vax Facts: Should I Get a Second COVID-19 Booster Shot?

This graphic outlines eligibility requirements for a first booster shot.

Recommended Content:

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

COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Main Graphic

Infographic
4/21/2022
COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Main Graphic

If your military hospital or clinic offers these antiviral treatments as part of the COVID-19 Test to Treat Initiative, use these graphics to promote your services to your beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

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

COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Graphic 2

Infographic
4/21/2022
COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Graphic 2

If your military hospital or clinic offers these antiviral treatments as part of the COVID-19 Test to Treat Initiative, use these graphics to promote your services to your beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

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

Make Guidance for DOD Facilities

Infographic
2/3/2022
Make Guidance for DOD Facilities

Mask Guidance for Department of Defense Facilities.

Recommended Content:

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

VAXFacts TRICARE coverage Vaccine

Infographic
2/3/2022
VAXFacts TRICARE coverage Vaccine

Will TRICARE cover the COVID-19 Vaccine? Yes. TRICARE offers the vaccine itself at no cost, but there may be a cost based on your plan for an office visit or if you require follow-on care.

Recommended Content:

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

Compromised Immune System

Infographic
2/3/2022
Compromised Immune System

Do you have a compromised immune system? The CDC recommends you get an additional primary dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Recommended Content:

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

VaxFacts: Should I get a booster?

Infographic
2/3/2022
VaxFacts: Should I get a booster?

Should I get a COVID-19 Booster Shot?

Recommended Content:

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

Formulary Search Tool Buckslip (Page 1)

Infographic
1/27/2022
Formulary Search Tool Buckslip (Page 1)

The front side of a buck slip. Educates beneficiaries what the search tool is and what information can be found. Links to esrx.com/tform. Has three graphics grouped together on the right hand side.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Pharmacy Operations Toolkit

Formulary Search Tool Buckslip (Page 2)

Infographic
1/27/2022
Formulary Search Tool Buckslip (Page 2)

The back side of a buck slip. Educates beneficiaries what the search tool is and what information can be found. QR code is on the right and links to the search tool. The TRICARE and Express Scripts logo are on the bottom left.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Pharmacy Operations Toolkit
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 6
Refine your search
Last Updated: January 25, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery