The U.S. military will mandate Covid-19 vaccine for troops.



By Helene Cooper and Jennifer Steinhauer

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will seek to order mandatory coronavirus vaccines for 1.3 million active duty American troops, even if the Food and Drug Administration has not issued full approval for the inoculation, administration officials said Monday.

Mr. Austin is expected to send a memo to his staff outlining the plans later today.

The decision is the latest shift in the Biden administration’s response to the surging Delta variant.

Mr. Austin advised President Biden last week that a vaccine mandate is one of the few weapons left to try to protect troops from the virus.

But Mr. Biden balked at putting a mandate in place without full approval from the F.D.A. His caution came as a surprise to some administration officials because the president had already announced that all federal employees and on-site contractors must be vaccinated against the coronavirus, or submit to regular testing and other measures. But that requirement affected the 766,372 civilians working for the Defense Department, not active-duty service members.

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