August 9, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that the Department of Defense will seek authorization to require the COVID-19 vaccine for all active-duty military service members. In March 2021, Rep. Panetta and a small group of his colleagues sent a letter to the White House requesting that President Joe Biden issue a waiver of informed consent to require vaccines for all military service members.

“I’m pleased that President Biden and Secretary Austin decided to require vaccines for our uniformed military members,” said Rep. Panetta.  “As I made clear in my letter earlier this year, U.S. military personnel must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to ensure readiness and set a positive example for the rest of the country. This move by Secretary Austin underscores how serious we are about protecting our troops, putting this pandemic behind us, and preserving our national security.”

The letter to President Biden emphasized the need for personnel vaccination to bolster military readiness and protect our national security interests. It also highlighted the impact of disinformation and vaccine skepticism in slowing down the existing Pentagon vaccination effort.  The letter to President Biden led by Congressman Panetta was joined by House Rules Committee Chairman Rep. James McGovern, Rep. Marilyn Strickland, Rep. Sara Jacobs, Rep. Marc Veasey, Rep. Cindy Axne, and Rep. Jahana Hayes.