DoD is calling on all military and civilian personnel to attest as to their vaccination status for Covid-19. It’s not immediately clear what exactly “attest” entails, but the department further stated that 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.”
The new requirement immediately follows a sharp change in direction on federal workforce policy on Covid-19 in response to a spike in infections (most from the more contagious “delta variant”) and hospitalizations, particularly in regions of the country with lower vaccination rates and greater hesitancy.
Echoing language from the White House, the department further stated it would begin looking into “how and when to make recommendations to the President with respect to adding the COVID-19 vaccines to the full list of requirements for military personnel,” calling Covid-19 a significant and evolving national security threat.
DoD recently began requiring all service members, employees, onsite contractors and visitors to wear masks indoors in installations and other DoD and Pentagon facilities in areas of substantial or high transmission, as defined by the CDC. The mandate applies to everyone, regardless of their vaccination status.
Can President Biden Lawfully Order Members of the Military to Take a COVID-19 Vaccine?
The short answer is yes, according to a former JAG officer