First, the COVID-19 vaccines were completely voluntary. Now, they’re on the verge of being mandated because not enough people volunteered — so how was there ever really a choice?
Active-duty troops in the U.S. military may be under a vaccine mandate as early as this week, the Post Millenial reported. This comes after a fact-finding assignment last week from President Joe Biden to determine whether and when this would be necessary to increase vaccination rates in the military.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to seek a presidential waiver to mandate the experimental vaccine, CNN reported. Previously, the Pentagon was reluctant to require the jab that has yet to be fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
An official told the news outlet that Austin’s “inclination is towards making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory” for the troops, making it seem inevitable. The secretary previously told reporters that he was working with the medical community to figure out the logistics of rolling something like this out.
“But we won’t let grass grow under our feet,” Austin said at a news conference in the Philippines last week about a timeline for the mandate. “The President directed us to do something and we’ll get after it.”
Early last month, the Justice Department was already anticipating this action and made its recommendation to tie up the legal issue. A memo from the department stated that “because DOD has informed us that it understandably does not want to convey inaccurate or confusing information to service members—that is, telling them that they have the ‘option’ to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine if they effectively lack such an option because of a military order—DOD should seek a presidential waiver before it imposes a vaccination requirement.”
It was easy to see this coming down the pike after Biden mandated all federal employees get the jab just last week. The change means that those who chose not to vaccinate would be subject to mask mandates, weekly testing, and other hassles.
Enlisted military personnel don’t have bodily autonomy, so a mandate like this isn’t unheard of. However, the problem is that this may be the start of a top-down approach to vaccine mandates. Earlier this year, people frightened of forced vaccinations were mocked as conspiracy theorists — but maybe many foresaw how it was never going to really be a choice.