Certain U.S. troops will still be mandated to receive COVID-19 vaccines, the Department of Defense (DoD) said in a recent memorandum.
Troops who are deployed to countries that require COVID-19 vaccination must satisfy the requirements, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said in the Feb. 24 document.
“The Department’s Foreign Clearance Guide will be updated to reflect that DoD personnel must continue to respect any applicable foreign nation vaccination entry requirements, including those for COVID-19,” Hicks said.
“Other than to comply with DoD Foreign Clearance Guidance, DoD Component heads and commanders will not require a Service member or group of Service members to be vaccinated against COVID-19, nor consider a Service member’s COVID-19 immunization status in making deployment, assignment, and other operational decisions, absent establishment of a new immunization requirement in accordance with the process described below,” she also said.
Military rules (pdf) have been altered to include a new section that states a secretary of a military department, a director of a defense agency or field activity that operates medical clinics, or a commandant of the Coast Guard can submit requests to the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs for approval to mandate COVID-19 vaccines.
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