OAN Sophia Flores
UPDATED 5:23 PM PT – Tuesday, January 10, 2023
The Pentagon has formally dropped its COVID-19 mandate for troops.
The mandate was dropped on Tuesday. This decision had been expected to come from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin since December 23rd, when legislation signed into law allowed him 30 days to rescind the mandate. This comes nearly two years after Austin put the mandate into effect in August 2021.
“The Department will continue to promote and encourage COVID-19 vaccination for all service members,” Austin said in the memo. “Vaccination enhances operational readiness and protects the force.”
The Defense Department ceased discharging troops who refuse to get the shot.
The political issue has caused over 8,500 troops to be discharged from the military due to the refusal to get the vaccine. In addition, thousands of troops have applied for a medical exemption. The new memo ends exemption requests.
Currently, it’s believed that 99% of activity-duty troops in the Air Force, the Navy and the Marine Corps have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Only 90% of troops in the Guard and Reserve have received the vaccine.