One-third of U.S. troops eligible for the coronavirus vaccine have refused to be vaccinated, Defense Department officials said Monday.
Warning that this is still “very early data,” Maj. Gen. Jeff Taliaferro, deputy director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday, “The vaccine is something that needs to be implemented, it’s clearly safe for service members.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the percentage of those who choose not to receive the vaccine reflects the level of acceptance in the United States.
This is the first time the department has publicly announced how many servicemembers have opted out of the vaccine.
According to Kirby, the Defense Department has administered 916,575 doses of the vaccine, nearly 90 percent of all doses delivered. Now the U.S. Army is receiving another one million doses of vaccines.
The military cannot make vaccinations mandatory for service members because the drugs were only approved for emergency use, not full Food and Drug Administration approval.