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...

Does CSM Gragg Have COVID-19?

Video
2/9/2022
Does CSM Gragg Have COVID-19?

CSM Gragg demonstrates how to use a COVID-19 at home rapid test.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | At-Home COVID-19 Tests | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

CSM Gragg Vaccine Statement

Video
8/24/2021
CSM Gragg Vaccine Statement

CSM Gragg shares his personal story dealing with COVID and the loss associated with it and urges all to take precautions.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

LTG Place on Vaccine Importance

Video
8/17/2021
LTG Place on Vaccine Importance

LTG Place presents his concerns over those who are still unvaccinated during these unprecedented times. Take the right steps to prevent tragedy befalling your family and schedule your vaccine today at https://tricare.mil/vaccineappointments.

Recommended Content:

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

Lt. Gen. Place and Command Sgt. Maj. Gragg on Getting Vaccinated

Video
8/16/2021
Lt. Gen. Place and Command Sgt. Maj. Gragg on Getting Vaccinated

DHA Director Lt. Gen. Ron Place and DHA Senior Enlisted Leader Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg talk about how getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is more important than ever.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Battle Against the COVID-19 Delta Variant

Video
6/29/2021
The Battle Against the COVID-19 Delta Variant

Like our enemies in the past, the coronavirus has adapted and we're now dealing with the most transmissible variant yet, Delta. The fight can be won with vaccination. If you're not yet vaccinated against the coronavirus, go get your shot today. Otherwise you're at high risk for severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Delta Variant: A New Reason to Get Vaccinated

Video
6/25/2021
The Delta Variant: A New Reason to Get Vaccinated

Are you a service member age 18 to 30? Are you unvaccinated? You may be entitled to severe disease, hospitalization, and death. To avoid these options, get vaccinated today!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Are mRNA vaccines safe?

Video
5/28/2021
Are mRNA vaccines safe?

Dr. LC Collins explains the years of research and ongoing monitoring to show how mRNA vaccines are safe and effective.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts: Breastfeeding after the COVID-19 Vaccine

Video
5/28/2021
VAX Facts: Breastfeeding after the COVID-19 Vaccine

Dr. LC Collins encourages people who are breastfeeding to get the vaccine. Since the vaccine doesn't contain live virus, you can't pass COVID to your baby.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

What is an mRNA vaccine?

Video
5/28/2021
What is an mRNA vaccine?

Dr. LC Collins explains how mRNA vaccines work to protect you from COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts: Do I Need the Vaccine if I Had COVID?

Video
5/28/2021
VAX Facts: Do I Need the Vaccine if I Had COVID?

Dr. LC Collins talks about the importance of getting vaccinated even if you already had COVID. We're not sure how long natural immunity lasts, so getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts: Which Vaccine is Right for Me?

Video
5/28/2021
VAX Facts: Which Vaccine is Right for Me?

Dr. LC Collins talks about the importance of getting the first vaccine available to you. Don't hold out for a certain brand; they're all safe and effective.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Town Hall May 26 2021

Video
5/26/2021
Town Hall May 26 2021

RADM Anne Swap will discuss the National Capital Region's response to COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Direct Reporting Markets

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: 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: 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
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 30, 2021
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery