Army post considering vaccine requirement to enter the base

Christian Bright

The Manhattan Mercury, Kan.

An area official has said Fort Riley is on the verge of requiring people to show proof of COVID vaccination to enter the base. However, a Fort Riley spokesman said he isn’t aware of any such plans.

Janet Nichols, military liaison with the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, told the Riley County Commission Thursday she thinks there’s a possibility of vaccination requirements to get on the base.

“It looks very likely that on the horizon is going to be a vaccine requirement to enter post,” Nichols said. “They are requiring it for certain events, they are also are having a limitation on numbers of people at events they sponsor.”

Steve Elstrom, public affairs director at Fort Riley, told The Mercury there aren’t any local discussions about requiring visitors to Fort Riley to be vaccinated.

Elstrom said any vaccination policy for visitors would be set by a federal mandate. He said he isn’t aware of any discussions by the Pentagon.

“Presidential directive and the Department of Defense policy does require that soldiers be vaccinated,” Elstrom said. “It does require the Department of the Army civilian employees to be vaccinated.”

Nichols said she wouldn’t provide additional information when asked by The Mercury because she can not comment on Fort Riley or 1st Infantry Division policy since she is not in the Army nor contracted by the Army. She also declined to say where she heard about the potential requirement or what events require vaccination proof.

Elstrom said Fort Riley continues to follow Department of Defense COVID-19 guidelines. “We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our soldiers, family members, retirees and civilians,” he said.


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