Armed Forces News

Air Force Senior Airman Ashton Gilbert, a medical technician assigned to the 673d Healthcare Operations Squadron, administers the first of a two-dose series of a COVID-19 vaccine to Air Force Lt. Gen. David Krumm, Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, Alaskan Command and Eleventh Air Force commander at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Jan. 4, 2021. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samuel Colvin.

Fully vaccinated service members and civilian DoD personnel no longer have to wear masks on military installations. The Association of the Army (AUSA) reported that the Pentagon released the updated guidance June 30.

All personnel are still being urged to follow social-distancing and hygiene protocols. Commanders and supervisors also have the authority to require mask-wearing to ensure safe work spaces, and when local or national guidelines require it. Also, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines still require everyone to wear masks at airports, when riding public transportation, and at correctional and health-care facilities. This would include all DoD medical, dental and veterinary facilities.

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Commanders and civilian supervisors are responsible for verifying the vaccination status of people who work for them. Subordinates should be able to provide proof of vaccination.

DoD says 68 percent of active duty personnel have been vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one dose. Local health protection conditions are being relaxed and infection rates are dropping. However, according to Dr. Terry Adirim, the acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, the delta variant “poses a threat to that return to normal.

“We are particularly concerned with the impact of the delta variant on our unvaccinated or partially vaccinated population, and its potential spread at installations that are located in parts of the country with low vaccination rates.”

Across the entire Defense Department, including military personnel, family members, civilians and contractors, there have been 303,000 cases of COVID-19 and 355 deaths related to the disease – and currently there are roughly 20 individuals hospitalized for Covid-19 in DoD facilities, DoD says.

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