The Pentagon is preparing guidance to mandate all service members receive the COVID-19 vaccine, now that the Pfizer vaccine has received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said today.

Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Pentagon would require all service members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by mid-September or immediately upon FDA approval.

“Now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved, the department is prepared to issue updated guidance, requiring all service members to be vaccinated,” Kirby told reporters. “A timeline for vaccination completion will be provided in the coming days.”

“These efforts ensure the safety of our service members and promote the readiness of our force, not to mention the health and safety of the communities around the country in which we live,” he added.

Kirby would not comment on other COVID-19 vaccines and said right now the Pentagon is “focused on the Pfizer vaccine because of the FDA approval that came in this morning.”

President Joe Biden praised Secretary Austin’s decision to mandate the vaccine upon FDA approval earlier this month.

“Secretary Austin and I share an unshakable commitment to making sure our troops have every tool they need to do their jobs as safely as possible,” President Biden said at the time. “Being vaccinated will enable our service members to stay healthy, to protect their families better, and to ensure that our force is ready to operate anywhere in the world.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.