Top military officials on mandating vaccine: 'We are responsible for each other's health and safety'

Top military officials on mandating vaccine: 'We are responsible for each other's health and safety'
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaking with the United Kingdom's secretary of state for defense, Ben Wallace, on January 23, 2021, Lisa Ferdinando

The nation's two top Military officials on Monday explained why the Pentagon is mandating all service members get the coronavirus vaccine by Sept. 15, or as soon as the FDA announces final approval.

"To defend this nation we need a healthy and ready force," Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a memo to all Defense Dept. employees. The vaccines, Sec. Austin added, "will protect you and your family. They will protect you, your ship, and your co-workers."

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley added that COVID-19 is a threat to "force protection and readiness."

"We are responsible for each other's health and safety," he said, writing by hand on a memo: "Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is a key force protection and readiness issue."

You can read their memos below:

Task & Purpose reports among the top reasons soldiers at Fort Carson in Colorado gave for not getting vaccinated was: "This is the first time I get to tell the Army NO!"

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