ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — Members of the U.S. military would be required to have the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Sept. 15, under a plan announced by the Pentagon on Monday and endorsed by President Joe Biden.
That deadline could be pushed up if the vaccine receives final FDA approval or infection rates continue to rise.
According to Roland Leach with Robins Air Force Base, officials are reviewing the order but do not have a timetable or plan for getting base employees vaccinated.
Robins Air Force Base has about 14,000 military and about 9,000 civilian employees.
The order covers only active-duty military.
Leach says currently, they encourage masks and social distancing, but no one is required to get the vaccine.
Robins Air Force Base released a statement Monday evening saying,
"We are waiting for and will comply with the President’s direction regarding vaccinations for military personnel, and any requirements for unvaccinated Federal employees.
We expect implementation guidance will come from the Pentagon. When received from higher headquarters we will have more to share.
In the meantime, we continue to encourage our uniformed and civilian Airmen and all eligible populations to get vaccinated."
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says he will seek the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon FDA licensure, whichever comes first. Austin’s decision comes a bit more than a week after Biden told defense officials to develop a plan requiring troops to get shots as part of a broader campaign to increase vaccinations in the federal workforce.