The Pentagon ordered all military troops to immediately get the COVID-19 vaccine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memo on Wednesday.
“To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force,” Austin said. “After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease…is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people.”
The Pentagon’s decision will affect over 800,000 service members who have yet to receive the vaccine, as reported by the Associated Press.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which the FDA fully approved, is now one of the required shots military personnel must get. The Pentagon said it has enough vaccines to meet demand, per AP.
According to reports, hospitalizations and deaths have increased in the military. In the last month, 34 service members died from COVID-19, up from 25.
“Our vaccination of the Force will save lives,” said Austin. “Thank you for your focus on this critical mission.”