(FiveNation.com)- Members of the U.S. Army will soon be forced to get COVID-19 vaccinations, even if they don’t want to.
The Army Times report recently that commands are starting to prepare to administer the shots, and that could begin as early as September 1. It seems the only thing standing in the way of that happening is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration giving full approval to the vaccines.
Right now, the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are only able to be offered in the U.S. because they received emergency use approval from the FDA.
The directive was sent by the Department of the Army Headquarters, a copy of which was obtained by the Army Times. It read:
“Commanders will continue COVID-19 vaccine operations and prepare for a directive to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for service members [on or around] 01 September 2021, pending full FDA licensure. Commands will be prepared to provide a backbrief on servicemember vaccination status and way ahead for completion once the vaccine is mandated.”
This directive was classified as an EXORD, which is given whenever a president decides to direct the secretary of defense to execute any operation by the military.
Despite the Army Times receiving the communication, Army spokesperson Major Jackie Wren wouldn’t comment directly. Wren said:
“As a matter of policy we do not comment on leaked documents. The vaccine continues to be voluntary. If we are directed by DoD to change our posture, we are prepared to do so.”
The Pentagon also commented that there hasn’t been any guidance issued as of yet for a rollout of mandatory vaccines in September.
For its part, the FDA doesn’t have a specific timeline yet as to when the vaccines in circulation could receive full approval. FDA spokesperson Alison Hunt said:
“Timelines for vaccine approval may vary depending on a number of factors, but as Pfizer and Moderna announced, they have initiated rolling submissions of their biologics license applications for their COVID-19 vaccines. As a general matter, FDA cannot comment on particular applications.”
When a drug is up for priority review at the FDA, the agency takes 60 days to review any applications before they give full approval. This happens only after the companies that produce the drugs submit all the required information and data to the FDA.
As of now, roughly 70% of the Army is already fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s according to the director of the Defense Health Agency, Army Lieutenant General Ronald Place.
Despite this, the demand for coronavirus vaccines has dropped significantly recently across all branches of the military. This follows in line with what’s being seen in the general population across America, too.
At the same time as this supposed Army requirement to get vaccinated, the Navy has told its sailors they should prepare to be mandated to get the vaccine if they haven’t yet.
The Veterans Affairs administration is also considering whether they should require their staffers to get the vaccine as well.