Thousands of U.S. soldiers and sailors are refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and at this point there’s not much more frustrated military commanders can do about it.
About one-third of all those offered the shot to protect against the deadly pandemic have declined to roll up their sleeves, Pentagon officials told a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
The military’s response to the threat posed by the coronavirus has been in the spotlight since the ill-fated voyage of the USS Theodore Roosevelt last year, when a raging infection forced the giant carrier to port and sparked a vicious fight in the chain of command over safety, discipline and readiness.
“We believe [getting] the vaccine is the right thing to do. It’s clearly safe for service members,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeff Taliaferro, vice director for operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “We need to continue to educate our force.”
They didn’t address what reasons the reluctant service members are giving for refusing but a number of myths and rumors have spread about the safety and efficacy of the current COVID-19 vaccines. Since vaccinations of the troops began last month, military leaders have worked to knock down suspicions in the ranks with a full-court public relations campaign — including having senior Pentagon officials get the shot. Read Full Article >