The Pentagon is reportedly set to require that all troops receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a memo that was first obtained Monday by The Associated Press.
The memo from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stated that he would be seeking “the president’s approval to make the vaccines mandatory no later than mid-September,” or when the vaccine is fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, if that occurs first.
The FDA is expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine early next month. Presently, all three coronavirus vaccines currently being distributed in the United States — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — are under an emergency-use authorization.
The move to mandate the vaccinations is supported by Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services. Archbishop Broglio told Catholic News Agency on Monday that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), along with Pope Francis, “had recognized the morality of the vaccine.”
The CDF’s advice “is the best guidance that we, as Catholics, have,” he said.
Archbishop Broglio added that this vaccine mandate would “be very similar to other mandates already in force” and that “several chaplains have mentioned that before a deployment you are given several inoculations and no one asks for your consent.”
“Certainly, no vaccine is an absolute, but the military is bound to live, work and recreate together,” he said. “It seems prudent to ensure they do not infect each other.”
The archbishop said that while a person could object from the mandatory vaccine due to their personal conscience, “even that should be formed by the teaching of the Church.”
In March, following the beginning of vaccine distribution in the United States, Archbishop Broglio encouraged people to get vaccinated with whatever vaccine is offered.
“In the case of vaccines to protect against the coronavirus pandemic, the highest doctrinal authority of the Church, speaking on behalf of the Bishop of Rome, has made its clear position on the vaccines available,” said Archbishop Broglio in March.
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