In the last month, there has been a jump of 55 percent in vaccination for COVID19 in active duty service members in the US military. A senior defense official has said that the boost in vaccination has taken place after Pentagon has opened up the vaccinations for the general population in April. About a month ago, out of 1.4 million active-duty service members, nearly 500000 people have been given the first dose of the shot. Now around 775000 troops have been given the first dose of the shot. This sharp rise in the rate of vaccination has been seen after the US military has given a green signal to vaccinations for all service members. This has allowed people to get the shot who have not been in the high-priority Tier 1 group. However, it is unclear if the surge in the rate of vaccination among military people will remain the same or it will go down. The US military has been facing a hard time with vaccine hesitancy among the young population. The officials have said that the young population in the US military does not see a huge incentive in getting a shot that is not mandatory. As per the report, the rate of vaccine declination has been nearly 67 percent for II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune in mid-April. The vaccine declination rate across the Marine Crops has been around 36 percent, said the experts.
Experts have said that the fight against the COVID19 pandemic has been a top priority for the Biden government and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been promoting vaccination. He has been putting out awareness messages regarding the value and efficiency of COVID19 shots. Kathleen Hicks, who is Deputy Defense Secretary, and Gen. John Hyten who is Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman, have issued a memo to spread awareness about vaccination. It has stated that COVID19 is the biggest proximate challenge to the security of the nation. The memo has advised unit leaders to use tools such as stand-downs, vaccination days, and organization days to promote vaccination. They should slot in vaccination occasions into unit training events. The memo has stated that unit leaders need to use current policies and procedures to promote vaccination to the highest extent. As per the defense officials, individual bases and installations have started incentivizing the shot with days off and added freedom of movement. The officials have framed vaccination as a crucial part of military promptness.
Dr. Terry Adirim, who is Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, has said that almost all combatant commands overseas now have people who have been vaccinated with either the first or the second dose of the vaccine. The vaccination has taken place at rates that are greater than the rate of vaccination in the US, said the expert. He has said that in some cases, the rate of vaccination has been even higher in the US military. Health officials have said that last week, the Defense Department has given some respite in mask requirements. The officials have said that people who have been vaccinated with full two doses of the COVID19 shot can remove their facemasks in department facilities. On the other hand, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has allowed people who are fully vaccinated to remove their masks both indoor and outdoor locations. As per the report, nearly 351 defense staff including civilians, dependents, and contractors have lost their lives due to COVID19.