DOD: 65% of all US military members fully vaccinated for COVID-19

Just 65% of all U.S. military members have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as the deadline for service members to get their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine looms. The deadline for members of the military to get their first dose of the Moderna vaccine has already passed. 

A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed in a press briefing on Tuesday that the percentage accounts for all National Guard, Army Reserve and active-duty forces. 

When asked by a reporter during a Tuesday briefing regarding the latest data from the U.S. Air Force which said four percent of active-duty air force members are currently not vaccinated fully or partially, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby explained that across the entire combined forces of the U.S. military, approximately 80% have received at least one dose while 65% have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

"I can tell you that active duty personnel with at least one dose now stands at 96.7% and active duty personnel that are fully vaccinated stands today at 83.7%. So we continue to make progress on this and the total force, at least one dose 80% And fully vaccinated again across the total force is about 65%," Kirby said.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced that it would require all members of the military to get vaccines, and each service set up its own dates for the active duty and reserves to comply with the mandate. 

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Those getting the FDA approved Pfizer vaccine must get their first dose by Oct. 18, and their second dose by Nov. 8. Those getting the Moderna vaccine must get their first dose by Oct. 11 and their second dose by Nov. 8. And those getting the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine must get vaccinated by Nov. 8.

Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second shot, or after the single Johnson and Johnson shot. The Moderna and J&J vaccines are authorized for emergency use, while the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been granted full FDA approval.

New guidance was issued on Oct. 4 by the Department of Defense requiring that all civilians who work for the Defense Department and military services must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by Nov. 22

A memo signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said the new mandate is in line with the presidential directive issued last month requiring federal agencies to implement vaccine requirements.

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"Vaccinating (department) civilian employees against COVID-19 will save lives and allow for the defense of our Nation," said Hicks. "Thank you for your focus on this critical mission."

Each of the military services released its own deadlines for their personnel to get the vaccines. Army active-duty soldiers must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 15, and Army Reserve and National Guard by June 30, 2022.

Navy active-duty must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 28, and Navy Reserve by Dec. 28. The Marine Corp has similar dates at the end of November for active duty and the end of December for Reserves.

Active-duty members of the Air Force and Space Force must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 2, and Guard and Reserve personnel by Dec. 2.

As of Sept. 30, the Defense Department has recorded more than 370,000 cases of COVID-19 including more than 5,300 hospitalizations. 

A complete tally of COVID-19 vaccinations among all U.S. military branches can be seen on the DOD’s website.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.