Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to seek approval for making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all active-duty troops as soon as this week.
This comes after President Biden announced last week that he was asking the Pentagon to look into the vaccine mandate. Separately, Reuters reports that the Biden administration is developing a plan to require vaccinations for nearly all foreign visitors to the US.
Traveling in the Philippines last week, Austin told a news conference that he would consult with medical professionals and the services on a timeline for implementing a new policy. “But we won’t let grass grow under our feet,” he said.
The F.D.A. plans to fully approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, one of the most widely used vaccinations, by early next month, people familiar with the effort have said. The move will lead to more vaccination mandates across the country, but officials said Austin is not expected to wait for final approval before making his recommendation.