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On Tuesday, the Biden Department of Defense announced the end of mandated coronavirus vaccines for military personnel, marking one of the last instances of the federal government using its authority to tell Americans what to put in their bodies.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin sent a memo to senior pentagon officials and combat commanders informing them that he would be rescinding the order that forced mandatory coronavirus vaccines on the six branches of the armed forces.

The secretary began the memo by thanking his personnel for the work they did to combat the coronavirus. He then moved on to inform them that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed by Congress in December, has forced him to rescind “the mandate that members of the Armed Forces be vaccinated against COVID-19.” 

“No individuals currently serving in the Armed Forces shall be separated solely on the basis of their refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccination if they sought an accommodation on religious, administrative, or medical grounds,” the secretary wrote. “The Military Departments will update the records of such individuals to remove any adverse actions solely associated with denials of such requests, including letters of reprimand.”

“The Secretaries of the Military Departments will further cease any ongoing reviews of current Service member religious, administrative, or medical accommodation requests solely for exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine or appeals of denials of such requests,” the memo added. “Religious liberty is a foundational principle of enduring importance in America, enshrined in our Constitution and other sources of Federal law. Service members have the right to observe the tenets of their religion or to observe no religion at all, as provided in applicable Federal law and Departmental policy.”

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The secretary then turned to service members who have been adversely affected by the mandate, including those who have been discharged, as reported by The Daily Wire. Austin wrote that those “discharged on the sole basis that the Service member failed to obey a lawful order to receive a vaccine for COVID-19,…Former Service members may petition their Military Department’s Discharge Review Boards…to individually request a correction.” 

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Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced the end of the vaccine mandate last month when he tweeted, “I told Biden directly: it’s time to end your COVID vaccine mandate on our military & rehire our service members. The end of the mandate is a victory for our military & for common sense.”

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) said that the mandate’s end is a victory for the armed forces: “Because of the hard work of House Republicans — the Department of Defense has finally rescinded the harmful COVID-19 vaccine mandate for servicemembers. I am proud to have fought for the inclusion of language in the Fiscal Year 2023 James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act that directed the Department of Defense to end this mandate.”

“Our work is not done. We will be looking into the impacts the COVID-19 vaccine mandate had on our readiness — especially its impact on the recruitment and retention of service members,” the Alabama congressman explained. “The House Armed Services Committee will continue to fight for our servicemembers and hold the Biden administration accountable for their harmful and misguided policies.”

With the vaccine mandate for military personnel finally ending, the last of the COVID-19 vaccine requirements have come to an end on the federal level as the courts and Congress have forced Biden’s hand. The American people should be glad that their men and women in uniform have secured this victory.

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