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Pentagon pauses actions ‘related to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate’ following NDAA

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Brian D. Beaudreault gets the COVID-19 vaccine on Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 20. 2021. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samuel Lyden

Pentagon pauses actions ‘related to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate’ following NDAA

Mike Brest

January 05, 05:44 PM January 05, 05:44 PM

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The Department of Defense has stopped “all actions” surrounding its coronavirus vaccine mandate following its reversal through the National Defense Authorization Act.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin initiated the mandate in August 2021 and still supported it, as did President Joe Biden, while Congress decided to get rid of it by attaching it as an amendment to the NDAA, which Biden signed into law late last month.

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“The NDAA requires that, not later than 30 days after enactment, the secretary of defense rescind the mandate that members of the armed forces be vaccinated against COVID-19,” Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a Department of Defense spokeswoman, told the Washington Examiner on Thursday. “As a result, the department will rescind the mandate and is currently in the process of developing further guidance. During this process, we are pausing all actions related to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.”

Roughly 8,400 troops have been separated over their refusal to get the shot.

“The health and readiness of our force are crucial to the department’s ability to defend our nation, and Secretary Austin continues to encourage all of our service members, civilian employees, and contractor personnel to get vaccinated and boosted to ensure the readiness of our total force,” she explained.

A Marine Corps spokesperson told the Washington Examiner that they’re “in close coordination with the Department of the Navy and [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] as we work to implement policies outlined in the 2023 NDAA.”

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Pentagon deputy spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said in December that 98% of the active-duty armed forces had received the initial two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which fulfilled the Pentagon’s mandate. There is no mandate for service members to get a COVID-19 booster.

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