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

Secretary of Defense Mandates COVID-19 Vaccinations for Service Members

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:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | 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...

DHA-PI 6205.01: Medical Logistics Guidance for the DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (n), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA's) procedures for ordering, receiving, and managing COVID-19 Vaccines inventory and ancillary kits.

DHA-IPM 20-004: Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation

Policy

This Defense Health Agency (DHA) Interim Procedures Memorandum (IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (d), and in accordance with the guidance cited in References (e) through (aa), establishes the DHA’s procedures to implement instructions, assign responsibilities, and prescribe procedures for the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. This DHA-IPM applies to DHA, DHA Components (activities under the authority direction, and control of the DHA), Military Departments (MILDEP), and the United States Coast Guard (CG). This DHA-IPM cancels and replaces DHA-IPM 20-004, “Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation,” December 13, 2020.

TAB A MEO COVID19 Medical Coding Policy

Policy

Memorandum for DHA Staff - Military Medical Treatment Facilities to Implement Updated DHA COVID-19 Medical Coding Policy

  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA COVID19 Medical Coding PolicyV5 1v

Policy

Establishes the DHA procedures to standardize the coding for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) within military medical treatment facilities (MTFs). This memorandum replaces DHA-Policy Memorandum 20-003 of July 1, 2020. Attachment 1 was updated to include the 2021 procedure and diagnosis codes for COVID-19, including the new vaccination and treatment codes.

  • Identification #: 20-003
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus

Supplemental Guidance for Providing DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccines to DoD Contractor Employees and Select Foreign Nationals

Policy

This memorandum provides supplemental guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, in accordance with reference (a). The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DoD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DoD Components as appropriate.

HA Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Laboratory Pre-Testing Questionnaire

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance for a COVID-19 laboratory pre-testing questionnaire that will be mandatory for all Active Duty Service members and encouraged for all other DoD beneficiaries treated at military medical treatment facilities.

Executive Order on Ensuring Access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines

Policy

This EO outlines who should receive priority access to COVID-19 vaccines developed in the United States or procured by the United States Government (“United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines”).

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccine Guidance

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DoD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DoD Components.

DHA-AI 3020-01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), based on the authority of References (a) through (b) and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (z3), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This DHA-AI also provides a preventive plan to monitor and assess for the appearance of new cases and implement those processes that will prevent them from impacting the workforce. The processes describe herein are intended to offer an actionable plan for the workforce to re-enter DHA Administrative Offices. See Appendix 1 for a summary of the DHA Administrative Office Reopening Plan. The plan uses the Force Health Protection Guidance and Health Protection Conditions (HPCON), in accordance with Reference (d), to ensure protection for the workforce, including the most vulnerable-to-serious complications from the virus while enabling DHA Administrative Offices to continue its mission. See Appendix 2 for the conceptual HPCON framework.

  • Identification #: 3020-01
  • Date: 11/3/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA-AI 3020.01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and in preparation for regression or resurgence in COVID-19 cases that could impact the workforce.

  • Identification #: 3020.01
  • Date: 6/12/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

Military Medical Treatment Facilities to Implement Updated DHA COVID-19 Medical Coding Policy

Policy

The Defense Health Agency (DHA) Memorandum, based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) and (d), establishes the DHA’s procedures to standardize the coding for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs). This memorandum cancels and replaces DHA- Policy Memorandum 20-003 of (13 April 2020). A change was issued since the cancelled Memorandum 20-003 of (13 April 2020), the Attachment titles were updated to reflect that Attachments 1, 2, and 4 are considered Policies as opposed to Guidance.

  • Identification #: 20-003
  • Date: 5/13/2020
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus
Showing results 1 - 11 Page 1 of 1

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.