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Pentagon Scrambles to Prep New COVID Rules as Vaccine Mandate Nears End

January 5, 2023

Pentagon leaders, who must scrap their COVID-vaccine mandate within three weeks, are trying to figure out what happens after that.

The 2023 National Defense Authorization Act—signed into law by President Joe Biden Dec. 23—requires Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to rescind his 2021 memo to vaccinate all military personnel within 30 days of the bill’s signing.

The DOD will do as directed, but officials are “currently in the process of developing further guidance,” Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a statement Tuesday. In the meantime, she said, the Pentagon “is pausing all actions for all service members related to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.”

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