Pentagon says it will respond ‘appropriately’ to new directive from Oklahoma National Guard on vaccine mandate


“We’re conscious of the memo issued by the Oklahoma Adjutant Common concerning COVID vaccination for Guardsmen and the governor’s letter requesting exemption. We are going to reply to the governor appropriately,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated in an announcement to CNN. “That stated, Secretary (Lloyd) Austin believes {that a} vaccinated pressure is a extra prepared pressure. That’s the reason he has ordered obligatory vaccines for the entire pressure, and that features our Nationwide Guard, who contribute considerably to nationwide missions at dwelling and overseas.”

Within the memo to Oklahoma Nationwide Guard members issued Thursday and obtained by CNN affiliate KOKH-TV, Military Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino stated the Oklahoma Nationwide Guard has rejected the Protection Division’s requirement that each one service members obtain the coronavirus vaccine and can enable personnel to decide out of the coverage with out repercussions. In response to the memo, nonetheless, if they’re federally mobilized, members should be vaccinated.

Earlier this month, Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt sent a letter to Sec. Austin requesting Covid-19 vaccine mandates be suspended for members of the state’s Nationwide Guard.

“We estimate that over 800 Oklahoma guardsmen haven’t and don’t plan on receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. This constitutes 10% of Oklahoma’s general pressure,” Stitt wrote. “It’s irresponsible for the federal authorities to put obligatory vaccine obligations on Oklahoma nationwide guardsmen which might probably restrict the variety of people that I can name upon to help the state throughout an emergency.”

Earlier this week, Stitt named Mancino to be adjutant basic for Oklahoma and commander of the Oklahoma Military and Air Nationwide Guard. Mancino’s appointment requires affirmation by the Oklahoma State Senate. The previous adjutant basic Mike Thompson, who was abruptly relieved Wednesday, was a supporter of the Covid-19 vaccine and obtained a booster shot final month.

CNN has reached out to Stitt’s workplace and the Oklahoma Nationwide Guard for additional touch upon this matter.

Earlier this yr, Stitt signed into law SB 658, which largely prevented faculty boards from mandating masks or vaccinations, besides below particular circumstances.

In August, Sec. Austin stated in a memo he was directing the Army Division providers to “instantly start full vaccination” of all Armed Forces members or these within the Prepared Reserve, together with the Nationwide Guard, who usually are not but absolutely vaccinated.

“After cautious session with medical consultants and navy management, and with the assist of the President, I’ve decided that obligatory vaccination towards coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) is critical to guard the Power and defend the American folks,” he stated.



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