WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 15, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press.
"I will seek the president's approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September, or immediately upon" licensure by the Food and Drug Administration "whichever comes first," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says in the memo to troops, according to the Associated Press.
Lloyd reportedly added that the deadline could be moved up if case rates continue to rise.
"I will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course to the President if l feel the need to do so. To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force," he wrote.
The Associated Press reports that the memo will be sent out later on Monday.
Last week, reports surfaced that Austin was preparing to recommend to Biden that vaccines be mandated among military members.
His recommendation comes after Biden asked the Department of Defense to "look into how and when" to add the COVID-19 vaccine to its list of mandatory vaccines.
ABC News reports that 70% of military personnel have gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the CDC, 58% of the U.S. population has gotten at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense already requires military members to be vaccinated against some diseases upon arrival at basic training and prior to deployment.
Military members routinely get vaccines to prevent "tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, hepatitis A and B, varicella or chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and meningococcal," and troops stationed around the world receive other vaccines depending on the area in which they are serving.