The US military is making rapid progress with COVID-19 vaccinations after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered the shots last month.
“We see that our troops, as we expected, are doing what is expected of them,” Kirby said at a news conference.
It compares to 82 percent of active duty members who had at least one shot in early September, according to a report Stars and Stripes interview with Lieutenant General Ron Place, head of the Defense Health Agency.
The Pentagon sent a DailyMail.com inquiry to a Defense Department on Tuesday dashboard which does not break out vaccine rates among active-duty reservists and the National Guard.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the vaccine mandate in an Aug. 24 memo, but different service departments have their own deadlines
Pentagon Makes Progress In Vaccinating Troops After Shots Became Mandatory
According to the dashboard, updated Wednesday, 73 percent of all troops have received at least one shot, when reservists and guards are included in the total force of 2.2 million.
The various service departments began requiring unvaccinated service workers to receive the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine following Secretary Austin’s Aug. 24 memo mandating injections even for those who have recovered from a previous infection.
Each service department has set its own deadline for troops to get the required vaccine, and all allow some exceptions for medical, religious, or administrative reasons.
The Air Force and Space Force have set a November 2 deadline for active airmen and guardians to be fully vaccinated, while sailors and Marines have until November 28.
The military requires all active duty soldiers to be vaccinated by December 15, and all National Guard soldiers must be vaccinated by June 30 of next year.
Kirby said at Friday’s briefing that Austin wanted to see the mandate implemented “in a compassionate, thoughtful way.”
A soldier receives a COVID vaccine in Fort Knox, Kentucky, on September 9. Army requires all soldiers on active duty to be vaccinated before December 15
“Breaking a legal order doesn’t automatically lead to a dishonorable discharge — I mean, it depends on the injunction,” he said when asked about possible disciplinary action for those who refuse vaccines.
“Commanders have a range of tools at their disposal, other than using the Uniform Code of Military Justice, other than disciplinary action, to help individuals make the best decision, the right decision for themselves, their families and their teammates,” Kirby said.
The military has said officers who refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus could be suspended from their duties and potentially fired.
Commanders, sergeants major, first sergeants and officers in Command Select List positions who refuse to be vaccinated and are not awaiting a waiver request would be suspended and fired if they refuse to comply, the military said.
“While soldiers who refuse the vaccine will first be advised by their chain of command and medical providers, continued failure to comply could result in administrative or out-of-court penalties, including relief from duties or dismissal,” the military said in an earlier statement. this month.
“This is literally a matter of life and death for our soldiers, their families and the communities we live in,” said US Army Surgeon General Raymond Scott Dingle, concerned about the spread of the highly contagious Delta strain.
However, the mandates have backfired on some, including a flurry of social media calls for service workers to apply for waivers, especially if they’ve already recovered from COVID-19.
An army soldier will be vaccinated earlier this month. The military has said officers who refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus may be suspended and potentially fired
Fox News host Tucker Carlson waded into controversy last week, dismissing the military vaccine mandate as a ruse to identify “sincere Christians,” “freethinkers” and “men with high testosterone levels” in the armed forces.
During his diatribe, Carlson denounced the demand as “unfair” and a “political purity test” — and accused military officials of “brainwashing” soldiers who were hesitant to get the jab.
Carlson then claimed, “The purpose of mandatory vaccination is to identify the sincere Christians in the ranks, the freethinkers, the men with high testosterone levels, and anyone who doesn’t like Joe Biden and get them to leave immediately.”
“It’s horrific,” Carlson added of the military mandate. “If you loved the country, you wouldn’t do this.”
According to the DoD dashboard, 52 military personnel have died from COVID-19 and 2,197 have been hospitalized, of the 2.2 million active duty, reserve and Nation Guard troops.
The relatively low death rate probably reflects the low average age of the service members.