UPDATED 6:15 PM PT – Wednesday, February 17, 2021
According to military leaders’ testimony before the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday, troops are putting off receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
Members of the Joint Chiefs told Congress around two-thirds of service members have been vaccinated, but some refused the treatment. According to reports, officials said refusal rates were varied and depended on factors like age, location and deployment status.
Commanders said they worked hard to make sure troops could operate in a COVID environment before vaccines were available.
“We don’t precisely know why an individual has not received a vaccine,” Maj. Gen. Jeff Taliaferro, Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Director for Operations, said. “We think it’s important that this department continues to communicate to our service members the value of the vaccine, the safety of the vaccine with continued leadership involvement to help our service members understand that.”
One commander said vaccines aren’t mandatory yet, but will likely become mandatory as soon as possible.