In an interview with Greta Van Susteren which will air on Sunday, Panetta said it was a matter of “national security”.
“I frankly think the president should issue an order requiring everyone in the military to get vaccinated against COVID-19, period. This is an issue involving our national security, ”said Panetta, who served under the Obama administration. “The last thing you need is to have military personnel who are our warriors unable to respond to a mission because they have contracted COVID-19. There is no excuse for this.
“When I was in the army, I had all the blows required by the army, hits in both arms and everywhere else. There is no reason why we should not require a COVID-19 vaccine for everyone in the military, period, ”he continued.
More than half of all military personnel were at least partially vaccinated by the end of June.
The Navy reported a 77 percent vaccination rate for active duty sailors, while 70 percent of Army soldiers are vaccinated, as are 61 percent in the Air Force and 58 percent in the Marine Corps.
However, thousands of soldiers still have not received the vaccine.
The vaccines are subject to emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, the Pentagon cannot legally require that all military personnel receive the vaccine, although Biden can grant an exception to this rule.
In an interview with NBC’s Craig Melvin in April, Biden did not rule out the possibility of requiring all service members to receive the vaccine once the FDA fully approves it, but said it would be a ” difficult call ”.
” I do not know. I’ll leave that to the military, ”Biden said.
“I’m not saying I won’t. I think you’re going to see more and more of them getting it. And I think it will be difficult to know whether or not they should be forced to get it in the army because you are so close to the other soldiers, ”he added later.