Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., Sent a letter to President Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin questioning the Department of Defense mandate for vaccines after receiving reports that troops were receiving shots not authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.
Johnson said “multiple sources” told his office that “the Department of Defense’s (DoD) mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations may not comply with Secretary of Defense Austin’s August 24, 2021 memorandum” because they have not yet received “a full license to practice”. “from the FDA.
Austin announced the military vaccination mandate in August, giving active-duty troops until December 15 and Reserve and National Guard members until June 30 to be fully immunized with an FDA-approved vaccine.
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Johnson noted that currently the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only vaccine with elective FDA approval, but several reports indicate that there is currently not “enough approved vaccine available for distribution” at all. those eligible for the vaccine.
The Wisconsin Republican asked how the DoD might carry out its mandatory vaccination program given the circumstances, while requesting information on how many service members have received vaccines not approved by the FDA by the DoD.
Johnson also asked the DoD to provide him with all documents and guidelines regarding the vaccine’s mandate.
“The senator’s concerns are twofold: that service members be mandated to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and, in any event, service members may not receive the fully approved vaccine in accordance with the mandate,” said a spokesperson for Johnson at Fox News.
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The spokesperson said vaccination mandates for the military and other professionals risked exacerbating “severe labor shortages”, especially in health facilities.
“Vaccine mandates will increase these shortages and degrade our health system,” the spokesperson said. “Reports on how warrants might weaken military readiness should be of concern to all Americans, especially our Commander-in-Chief.”