Military personnel ordered to provide COVID-19 vaccination status as Biden prepares to mandate the shots for all military

Sgt. Andrew Petersen, left, biomedical equipment technician at SHAPE Healthcare Facility, receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the healthcare facility Jan. 8 at Mons, Belgium. The SHAPE Healthcare Facility and Brussels Army Health Clinic conducted their first inoculations of healthcare workers with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 7. (U.S. Army photo by Christophe Morel, U.S. Army Garrison Benelux Public Affairs Office)

Sierra Jenkins

The Virginian-Pilot

All military personnel and Department of Defense civilian workers must confirm whether they received a COVID-19 vaccine, the Department of Defense announced.

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Jamal Brown released a statement Thursday saying those who do not comply will be required to wear a mask, remain socially distant and undergo weekly testing. Federal workers who are not vaccinated, or do not provide their vaccination status, will also not be allowed to travel for work.

The move comes after President Joe Biden held a news conference Thursday afternoon about incentives for federal employees to get vaccinated.

“Since many vaccinations are required for active duty military today, I’m asking the Defense Department to look into how and when they will add COVID-19 to the list of vaccinations our armed forces must get,” Biden said.

About 4 million people work for the federal government, according to the Associated Press. That is not including federal contractors, who will also be held to the same standard.

On Wednesday, the department announced it would require people to wear masks indoors — regardless of vaccination status — at military installations and other facilities in places where the virus’ spread is higher.

There are four levels for community transmission — low, moderate, substantial and high.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated guidance Tuesday saying people should wear masks indoors if they are in places with “substantial” or “high” community spread. As of Thursday evening, every Hampton Roads city is in the top two levels, according to the CDC Data Tracker.

Cases across the nation are spiking because of the highly contagious delta variant. Health experts say a vaccine is “the best and most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID,” the statement said.

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