The Commander-in-Chief’s comments come as the Pentagon has sounded the alarm bells about the military refusing the vaccine in droves, with about a third of soldiers refusing to take the shot in February, congressional testimony from military officials said. Earlier this month, the Pentagon reported that nearly 40% of Marines offered the vaccine had refused it.
In March, a group of Democratic lawmakers called on Biden to make the vaccine mandatory for members of the service.
Vaccine skepticism among military ranks reflects reluctance the White House attempts to combat among a large segment of the civilian population as the supply of U.S. vaccines begins to exceed demand and vaccines become available for all American adults aged 16 and over.
Although Biden announced last week that his administration had met its target of 200 million shots in his first 100 days in office, Republicans and young white Americans in rural communities remain particularly opposed to the vaccine. According to a CNN poll released Thursday, about a quarter of American adults polled said they would not try to get the vaccine.
Three vaccines – from drug makers Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson – are currently in use in the United States under emergency FDA clearances. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease specialist and chief medical adviser to Biden, told CNN on Wednesday that he hoped the agency would give the vaccines full approval “very soon.”