The Pentagon issued a statement on Thursday night after Biden's speech. It stated that anyone who is unable or unwilling prove their vaccination status will face travel restrictions. This raises questions about whether the rule affected deployments. According to the defense official, deployments will continue as normal. However, details about the travel restrictions that are not yet specified will be revealed in the coming days.
Biden also stated that a mandate to immunize troops is in the works. Biden directed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, to meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as the medical personnel of the departments to discuss when and how the Pentagon might add Covid-19 to its list of mandatory immunizations.
According to POLITICO, this week's second defense official said that the Pentagon is already deliberating whether it should require troops to be vaccinated. However, such a mandate is unlikely. A spokesperson John Kirby noted that the vaccine is currently under emergency authorization. Austin will consider requiring the shot after it has received full FDA approval.
The services already took steps to encourage troops to be vaccinated even before the federal regulations. According to Navy guidance, sailors who have had the shot will not need to be quarantined before being deployed. In countries that allow shore leave, vaccinated sailors can also be allowed to sail.
In spite of a slowdown in vaccinations nationally, more than 30 percent of active-duty soldiers have not been vaccinated.
At 72 percent, the Navy is the service with the highest vaccination rate. Navy officials stated Friday that they have not yet had to change their deployment guidelines due to the new DoD guidance.
Some units in the Marine Corps implemented new policies that allowed vaccinated Marines access to designated fitness centers without wearing a mask. Others offered commands to allow those who had achieved certain vaccination rates additional vacation time. Andrew Wood stated in May.
Only 21% of reserve Marines have had their shots, and 59 percent are active-duty Marines have been fully vaccinated.
Air Force spokesperson Lt. Colonel Malinda Singleton stated in May that the Air Force had launched a vaccination campaign. This included posting educational videos and encouraging base commanders, to create their own campaigns to educate airmen about the vaccine.
This week, 60% of Air Force and Space Force personnel on active duty were fully vaccinated. Guard and reserve troops fall to 56%.
62% of Army soldiers have been vaccinated.
The White House, State Department, and Pentagon Reservation have placed an indoor mask requirement on all persons, regardless of their vaccination status. This is as the number of cases of the Delta variant continues to rise in the country.
Paul McLeary contributed to the report.