Members of the military have until September 15 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to an announcement by the Pentagon and endorsed by President Biden.
That date is subject to change, if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the vaccine comes sooner, or if cases continue to rise.
The Pentagon reports that while different branches of the military have varying vaccination rates, more than 1 million members are fully vaccinated and over 230,000 received one dose.
In a memo to the troops, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, “I will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the President, if l feel the need to do so. To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force.”
The mandate comes on the heels of the Department of Veterans Affairs mandating staff to get inoculated. It was the first federal agency to require its employees to be vaccinated.
The delta variant of COVID-19 continues to create new hot spots across the country, prompting a growing number of civilian employers to mandate vaccinations as well. Google became the first major tech company to require employees to get vaccinated before returning to work on October 18. Tyson Foods is also making the vaccine required for some 120,000 workers in its plants and office and offering $200 bonuses to frontline workers who get the shots.
Other employers requiring vaccinations by a certain date (usually upon returning to the workplace) include:
- United Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Walmart (for corporate and management staff)
- Walt Disney Company
- Washington Post
Fast Company will update the list, as more companies announce their plans.