“By way of expectation, public reporting suggests the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could achieve full FDA licensure early next month,” the secretary also said in the memo. “The intervening few weeks will be spent preparing for this transition. I have every confidence that service leadership and your commanders will implement this new vaccination program with professionalism, skill, and compassion.”
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base leaders have urged Airman to get the vaccine.
“If you’re not vaccinated, please remain educated and up-to-date on various vaccine options,” Col. Christian Lyons, commander of the 88th Medical Group at Wright-Patterson, said in an Aug. 4 Facebook town hall. “Vaccines have proven to work. Over 99% of deaths and 97% of hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated population.”
“We take freedom of religion and worship seriously, in the military, it’s one of the things that we sign up to defend,” Kirby said Tuesday. “And so it’s something that’s done very carefully.”
There are exemptions for mandatory vaccines for medical reasons as well, Kirby said.
The Air Force has 280,352 fully vaccinated personnel and 28,843 partially vaccinated, according to the most recent DOD data. (The Air Force had 335,485 total active-duty personnel as of Sept. 30, 2020.)