“Commanders will continue COVID-19 vaccination operations and prepare for a directive to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for service members [on or around] 01 September 2021, pending full FDA licensure,” the order said. “Commands will be prepared to provide a backbrief on servicemember vaccination status and way ahead for completion once the vaccine is mandated.”
It’s unclear what the vaccination rates are among service members in Hawaii. Pentagon directives have kept information on local infection and vaccination rates among troops and families mostly secret, though commanders do share military COVID-19 data with the Hawaii Department of Health.
The U.S. military mandates vaccines for most common diseases as well as diseases that troops may experience on deployments. But because the FDA authorized the COVID-19 vaccines on an emergency basis, the military has kept getting a jab voluntary up to this point.
Across the force about 70% of U.S. Army soldiers have had at least one dose according to Pentagon data as of June.
The Navy has the highest vaccination rate of the branches at 79%. The Air Force has a rate of 61% and the Marine Corps has the lowest at 58%.
Speaking at a Facebook town hall event last month, Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John Nowell signaled that the Navy is also making plans for mandatory vaccinations. “When it’s formally approved, which we expect pretty soon, we’ll probably go to that,” Nowell said.
Sign up for our FREE morning newsletter and face each day more informed.
Not a subscription
Civil Beat is a small nonprofit newsroom, and we’re committed to a paywall-free website and subscription-free content because we believe in journalism as a public service.
That’s why donations from readers like you are essential to our continued existence.
Help keep our journalism free for all readers by becoming a monthly member of Civil Beat today.