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Pentagon considering mandatory COVID vaccines for military members

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 9:26 PM CDT
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FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - With thousands of families still reluctant to get their COVID vaccine, the Pentagon is planning to make vaccines mandatory for the military by September 1, if the FDA fully approves it.

Texas A&M Central Texas Nursing Director Amy Mersiovsky wasn’t surprised to hear the news.

“I know that they’re trying to protect their service members and their families,” she said.

“We need our soldiers ready to go in and help wherever problems or disasters arise. So, if they go to a place where COVID’s on the rise, we would want them protected from it.”

Currently, soldiers are mandated to get 17 different vaccines including the flu, measles, smallpox and others. If approved, the COVID vaccine would simply fall into this category.

Mersiovsky adds that a full approval of the vaccine by the FDA would be the ultimate convincing factor.

“It’s a new vaccine and a lot of families and military members have said that they would feel more comfortable when the FDA gives their full approval of the vaccine,” she said.

“With it being new, you can understand why people would be reluctant.”

According to the Pentagon, more than 930,000 service members have been fully vaccinated, on a voluntary basis.

Even if the vaccine were fully approved by the FDA, Mersiovsky says she wouldn’t be surprised if some remained reluctant because of the fast approval. However, with the new COVID variant reaching Central Texas, she argues to be safer than sorry.

“If we’re gonna stop having these infections and stopping these variants, you’re definitely decreasing your risk by getting the vaccine,” she said.

If the Pentagon were to make the vaccine mandatory, it’s likely that this will also include federal employees working at the VA or in other government facilities.

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