President Joe Biden announced Thursday that federal employees and contractors will now be required to “attest to” their COVID-19 vaccination status. Those who don’t comply or who are known to be unvaccinated will be required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and follow mitigation precautions, he said in remarks from the White House, also directing DOD to set stricter guidelines.
“[S]ince many vaccinations are required for active duty military today, I’m asking the Defense Department to look into how and when they will add COVID-19 to the list of vaccinations our armed forces must get,” Biden said. “Our men and women in uniform who protect this country from grave threats should be protected as much as possible from getting COVID-19. I think this is particularly important because our troops serve in places throughout the world, many where vaccination rates are low and disease is prevalent.”
The Pentagon acted fast to put the President’s request into place.
“All military and civilian DOD personnel will be asked to attest to their vaccination status,” a DOD spokesperson said Thursday night, according to Military Times. “Personnel unable or unwilling to do that will be required to wear a mask, physically distance, comply with a regular testing requirement and be subject to official travel restrictions.”
An internal DOD memo Wednesday from Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks called for masks and other mitigation precautions at the Pentagon and other facilities in communities with high risk for viral spread, as On Base reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a map of COVID-19 risk by county.
Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Chandler Wilbourn