Military members waiting on FDA approval for COVID-19 vaccine, survey says

Coronavirus Vaccine

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Surveys of military members and their families show that vaccines not having full FDA approval ranks high as a reason why some are not getting vaccinated.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says full approval could come in the next couple of weeks, which could line up with shots being mandated for the military.

The vaccine mandate for active-duty troops was expected, but not this soon.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is expected to make the announcement that all active-duty forces — 1.3 million service members — will be required to get COVID-19 shots.

Approximately 70% of active-duty troops have already received at least one shot, which is on par with the national rate among American adults.

And 64% of active service members are fully vaccinated.

Among the branches, the Navy has the highest vaccination rate while Marines have the worst.

Captain Javon Starnes at Fort Bragg in Arkansas says he was among the vaccine-hesitant.

“I basically was not wanting to get the vaccine. However, I weighed the pros and cons of — worst-case scenario — I don’t want to pass and then leave my wife as a mother of three by herself,” said Starnes.

Right now, the military administers 17 shots, starting in boot camp.

NewsNation also spoke with a military spouse, Geri Maples, the wife of Robert Maples, who was wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She says he was required to get an anthrax vaccine in 2003 or face a court martial.

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