WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to reports, despite the efforts of The Pentagon to promote the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine to troops, officials say approximately 33 percent of the U.S. military has opted out of receiving the shots; however, as per military sources and data accumulated from around the country by CBS and CNN, that number – in reality – may actually be as high as 50 percent.
Allegedly, at Fort Bragg, just under 60 percent of the base’s 57,000 military personnel had opted out of receiving the vaccine this month so far, according to CBS, a development that reportedly has top brass worried.
Currently, there are 2.2 million members of the military stationed throughout the world; each 10 percent drop in service members who opt out of the vaccine translated to 220,000 people who are no inoculated, which experts say is a large enough number to impact the readiness of the country’s military forces.
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Much like members of the general public, the reason so many military members are opting out of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 stems from fears over potential side effects they could experience – both short-term and long – due to the great speed in which the vaccine was developed. This apprehension is especially great among younger troops who are lower in rank; higher ranking officers tend to have a higher percentage of getting vaccinated, reports say.
Military officials have been pushing for troops to take the vaccine, but since the Defense Department has received emergency-use authorization only from the Food and Drug Administration, they are currently unable to force them to get inoculated. However, this would change if it was up to some Democrats, who have recently been petitioning President Joe Biden to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for U.S. service members.
Seven Democratic Congress members reportedly asked Biden via a letter to issue a “waiver of informed consent” that would require all troops to receive the vaccine. It is currently not known how or if the Biden Administration has responded to this request.