Oklahoma Governor Asks Pentagon To Remove National Guard Vaccine Mandate

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (right) asks the Secretary of Defense Lloyd AustinLloyd Austin Republican turn on Biden is misplaced Biden’s comments on Taiwan leave the administration fighting overnight Defense and national security – Presented by Raytheon Technologies – Biden backs down on Taiwan MORE suspend the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for Oklahoma National Guard members.

in a letter To Austin, Stitt said Tuesday that the mandate “violates the personal freedoms of many Oklahomans, as it asks them to potentially sacrifice their personal beliefs in order not to lose their jobs.”

“These are patriotic citizens who are willing to risk their lives to protect others in our communities during the times of greatest need,” Stitt said.

Austin ordered all service members to get vaccinated “immediately” against COVID-19 in late August after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose vaccine.

About 97 percent of the total force has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, Pentagon Press Secretary. John kirbyJohn KirbyBiden Expresses Concern Over Russian Missile System With Turkey’s Erdogan Overnight Defense & National Security – Presented By Boeing – Milley Warns Of ‘Sputnik Moment’ For China Iran Behind Drone Strike On US Base In Syria: report MORE said monday.

Term terms differ between military branches. The earliest deadline, for Air Force active duty personnel, is Tuesday, while all Air National Guard members and reservists must be vaccinated by Dec. 2.

Meanwhile, all active duty Army troops must be vaccinated by December 15, while Army reservists and National Guard units must be fully vaccinated by June 30, 2022.

In his letter, Stitt told Austin that he estimates that more than 800 Oklahoma guards “have not even planned” to get vaccinated, representing 10 percent of the total force.

The governor said it was “irresponsible” to impose the mandate, which could “potentially limit the number of people I can turn to to help the state during an emergency.”

“I sincerely ask that you reconsider the policy of requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all Oklahoma National Guards,” he continued.

The Hill has reached out to the Pentagon for comment.

The letter comes as the Republican Party sounds the alarm over the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate and upcoming Biden administration mandates for private employers and federal contractors.

Oklahoma Senator James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain Inhofe Night Defense and National Security – Presented by Raytheon Technologies – Biden backs down on Republican Taiwan lawmakers fear vaccine mandate will affect defense supply chain Top Republican senators want joint review of process of Afghan visas MORE (R), the highest-ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote a letter to Austin asking him to suspend the term last month.

“At a time when our adversaries continue to increase their quantitative and qualitative advantage over our forces, we should seek to ensure that no policy, even unintentional, hinders military readiness,” Inhofe said at the time.


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