Hundreds of thousands of US troops are still not fully vaccinated against Covid as the Pentagon’s deadline looms.
There are different vaccination deadlines across the different services – The Navy and Marine Corps both share a November 28 deadline.
The Air Force’s deadline for vaccination is November 2 and the Army’s deadline is December 15.
Biden told the 2.1 million servicemember they had to get vaccinated against Covid or face punishment.
Hundreds of thousands of US servicemembers have yet to be fully vaccinated against Covid.
Hundreds of thousands of U.S. service members remain unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated against the coronavirus as the Pentagon’s first compliance deadlines near, with lopsided rates across the individual services and a spike in deaths among military reservists illustrating how political division over the shots has seeped into a nonpartisan force with unambiguous orders.
Overall, the military’s vaccination rate has climbed since August, when Defense Department leaders, acting on a directive from President Joe Biden, informed the nation’s 2.1 million troops that immunization would become mandatory, exemptions would be rare and those who refuse would be punished. Yet troops’ response has been scattershot, according to data assessed by The Washington Post.
For instance, 90 percent of the active-duty Navy is fully vaccinated, whereas just 72 percent of the Marine Corps is, the data show, even though both services share a Nov. 28 deadline. In the Air Force, more than 60,000 personnel have just three weeks to meet the Defense Department’s most ambitious deadline.
But other services are not on such a steady path, and critics say the large gaps between vaccination deadlines jeopardize how ready the military can be in a moment of crisis. They point specifically to the reserves and National Guard, which over the last two years have been called upon in numerous emergencies – at home and overseas – and yet large numbers of their personnel have so far refused to get vaccinated.