Pentagon to respond “appropriately” after Oklahoma National Guard says it will not follow COVID-19 vaccine mandate – .

Pentagon to respond “appropriately” after Oklahoma National Guard says it will not follow COVID-19 vaccine mandate – .

The Department of Defense will respond “appropriately” to a decision this week by the Oklahoma National Guard to cancel the Pentagon’s requirement for the military to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Driving the news: “We are aware of the note issued by the Oklahoma adjutant general regarding the COVID vaccination for guards and the governor’s letter requesting an exemption. We will respond to the governor appropriately, ”Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Axios in a statement.

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  • “That said, Secretary Austin believes that a vaccinated force is a more ready force. That’s why he’s ordered mandatory vaccines for the entire force, and that includes our National Guard, which contributes significantly to national missions at home and abroad, ”Kirby added.

Inventory: The Pentagon statement comes after Brig. General Thomas Mancino, who now oversees the Oklahoma National Guard, “waived” the requirement.

  • Mancino cited a written request from the governor to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asking the DOD “to immediately consider suspending the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for Oklahoma National Guardsmen.”
  • Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (right) “is awaiting a decision” from the Secretary of Defense, Mancino wrote in a note dated Thursday.
  • « No negative administrative or legal action will be taken against guards who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, ”according to the memo.

The big picture: Mancino earlier this week was selected by Stitt to replace General Michael Thompson, who had supported COVID-19 vaccinations and said members who do not receive the vaccine would be advised of alternative options.

  • Thompson told reporters on Thursday he learned he had been relieved of his duties via social networks.
  • A spokesperson for Stitt, who strongly opposed the vaccine requirement for members of the Oklahoma National Guard, told AP that Mancino’s hiring was not due to the policy of vaccination.
  • “The governor had been considering making a change for several months, and Thompson had tendered his resignation” in October to take effect in January, spokeswoman Carly Atchison said, according to AP.
  • Thompson told Tulsa World the governor asked him to step down in October, but they agreed he would stay in place until January.

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