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Biden says pandemic over but Pentagon still requires vaccinations

Days after President Joe Biden declared the COVID-19 pandemic over, the Pentagon reiterated its commitment to the vaccine mandate.

As of last year, all armed service members have been required to get the vaccine by the Department of Defense (DOD). The DOD inspector general has even warned against granting medical or religious exemptions to the shot, triggering lawsuits and even warnings.

“Certainly, from the Department of Defense standpoint, we still have a requirement to vaccinate when it comes to COVID. And so we’ll continue to implement our measures,” Pentagon press secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said during a news conference Tuesday, according to a transcript of his remarks.

It is about readiness and about warfighting readiness, Ryder said, echoing the remarks of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

After Biden's interview last weekend, in which the president declared the influenza pandemic over, the Pentagon spokesman was asked if the DOD would change its vaccine requirement.

Other officials in the federal government, including Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and White House adviser Anthony Fauci, have attempted to recast Biden’s comments to shape a narrative that COVID-19 isn’t finished.

21 September 2022


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