WASHINGTON — All military personnel will be required to receive their COVID-19 vaccine by September 15, according to the Department of Defense. If the FDA initiates final approval for the vaccine, that date could be moved up.
Vaccine mandates are nothing new for those serving in the Armed Forces. In order to be fit to fight, military service members are required to receive 17 total vaccines, according to the Military Health System website.
Vaccines are required by service members in preparation for deployments in different parts of the world. To be operational ready, members are vaccinated against Typhoid, Anthrax and Yellow Fever among others.
Failure to comply could result in punishment under the Uniform Code Military Justice (UCMJ), with the possibility of a dishonorable discharge, according to Politico. Article 92 under the UCMJ says that failure to obey a direct order is a dereliction of duty.
ABC10 spoke with two veterans with mixed opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
From an upper management level, retired Air Force veteran Lindsey Sharpe, originally from Sacramento, shared her viewpoint.
"I have many friends who are Chiefs, and it’s hard when they are faced/asked 100 questions a day and they don’t have the ‘answers’ to give their airmen, when it comes to their questions, needs, wants," Sharpe said.
According to Sharpe, it's quite a trying time for those in leadership positions.
"It’s my hope that this 'goes away' sooner than later and as many lives, as possible, are saved," Sharpe said.
Other veterans were strongly opposed to the news of the vaccine mandate among military personnel.
Air Force veteran Jonathan Artiles, originally from Arizona, called the mandate ludicrous.
"The last time they forced people to get a vaccine like this it was terrible. I remember when they were forcing people to get the Anthrax shot, and it was doing more harm than good. Once they saw a few people had adverse side effects, they removed the vaccine," Artiles said.
Military members refused the Anthrax vaccine due to perceived health concerns within the first eight years, according to the Military Times. The Anthrax vaccine program was halted in 2004, following a court injunction of the military’s mandatory vaccination program, declaring the previous six years of vaccine administration to be illegal.
"We do not know all the long-term side effects of this vaccine! Also, what's up with all these incentives? If you get vaccine, we will enter you into a lotto. It's like they are bribing us to volunteer for something dangerous. I don't like it! I don't like the way they're pushing it on us," Artiles said.
According to the Military Health System website, military healthcare personnel must receive COVID-19 vaccine training that outlines the following:
- Vaccine development and safety
- Safety monitoring programs
- Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs)
- Vaccine storage/handling
- Vaccine preparation and administration
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Reporting adverse events
The COVID-19 vaccine mandate in military personnel will begin September 15 or sooner, if FDA approval takes place, according to AP News.