With the announcement that the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer has been given full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Pentagon’s top spokesperson told reporters on Monday that the Pentagon will soon mandate the vaccine for all servicemembers.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is “prepared to issue updated guidance requiring all service members to be vaccinated,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said.

He added that a “timeline for vaccination completion will be provided in the coming days.”

“We’re going to move forward, making that vaccine mandatory. We’re preparing the guidance to the force right now. And the actual completion date of it, in other words, how fast we want to see it get done, we’re working through that guidance right now.” 

“These efforts ensure the safety of our servicemembers and promote the readiness of our force, not to mention the health and safety of the communities around the country in which we live,” Kirby said.

Lloyd Austin COVID Vaccine Military
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is expected to soon mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for all military members. (U.S. Air Force)

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had announced that he would follow the president’s then wishes and make the vaccine mandatory by mid-September, even under FDA emergency-use authorization. However, this scenario has now been precluded by the recent development.

The Pentagon’s vaccination timeline will be released in the coming days, Kirby added. Yet, he didn’t say what, if any, actions will be taken with the Moderna or the Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Nevertheless, he did mention that the focus right now is “moving forward to implement a mandatory vaccination regimen for Pfizer.”

“I don’t want to get ahead of decisions that haven’t been made yet,” he added.