The Pentagon is considering the possibility of mandating COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs John Kirby said on Friday.
"There are active discussions" regarding whether to require booster shots, he said. "There have been no final decisions made about that."
Kirby said that 96.4% of active duty personnel have received at least one dose while 90% have been fully vaccinated. He said that for the entire force, which includes the National Guard and military reserves, almost 74% have been fully vaccinated.
A booster mandate would expand upon the current requirement, since service members are already required to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
But even though several military COVID-19 vaccination deadlines have already passed, there are still some service members who have not been vaccinated.
"The vaccination deadline for active-duty members of the armed services has passed for the Air Force, Navy and the Marine Corps. The Army's deadline is Dec. 15," according to NBC News. "Despite the Pentagon's vaccine mandate, approximately 27,000 members of the Marines, Air Force, Space Force and the Navy are still considered unvaccinated," the outlet reported earlier this week.
"The deadline for the Air National Guard and Reserve has passed, but members of the Army National Guard and Reserve don't have to be fully vaccinated until June 2022," the outlet also noted.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who serves as the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, has said that he expects the definition of full vaccination to eventually be changed to include boosters.
"It's gonna be a matter of when, not if," the definition changes, Fauci said during an interview on CNN.
COVID-19 vaccine mandates imposed by the public and private sectors during the pandemic have proven to be quite controversial. If the definition of full vaccination is eventually changed to include a booster dose, governments and businesses with vaccine mandates would likely start requiring people to get a booster dose in order to be considered fully vaccinated.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby Holds Press Briefing | LIVE youtu.be