ABOARD A US MILITARY PLANE ( Associated Press) – US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wants to maintain the mandate for COVID-19 vaccines for the military to protect the health of soldiers in the face of demands by Republican governors and lawmakers to repeal the measure.
Late last week, more than 20 Republican governors sent a letter to US President Joe Biden, asking him to rescind the mandate because, they say, it reduced the US National Guard’s ability to contain elements. have make. The National Guard is activated by governors to deal with natural disasters or social unrest.
Congress could consider a bill as soon as next week to end the mandate as needed to muster enough support to pass this year’s defense budget, already two months behind schedule. is behind.
Austin said he would not comment on the legislative pressures surrounding the case.
“We’ve lost a million people to the virus,” Austin told reporters with him on Saturday. “A million people died in the United States. We lost hundreds in the Department of Defense. The mandate has kept people healthy.
“It was me” who ordered compulsory vaccination among the armed forces, he said. “I support continuing to vaccinate soldiers.”
Last year, Austin ordered all soldiers to get vaccinated or they could be kicked out of the military; Thousands of soldiers engaged in service were discharged for refusing to get vaccinated.