Jul 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DOD: 70% of active duty service members have received first dose of COVID shot

U.S. Army soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, prepare Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate people at the Miami Dade College North Campus on March 10, 2021
Soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, prepare Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate people at the Miami Dade College North Campus on March 10. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Seventy percent of active duty service members have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 62% are fully vaccinated, the Pentagon announced on Friday.

The big picture: The update comes amid initial skepticism toward vaccination, per Politico. In February, approximately one-third of troops had declined the vaccine.

  • Democratic lawmakers in March urged President Biden to require the vaccine for all service members.
  • Biden said during an interview with NBC's Craig Melvin in April that it would be a "tough call" about whether he would require service members to get the vaccine once the FDA fully approves it.

What they're saying: In a video statement Friday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged all service members to get vaccinated.

  • "You aren't just protecting yourselves, you're also protecting your teammates, your families and your communities and your country," Austin said.

By the numbers: 226,488 service members have been partially vaccinated and 988,318 have been fully vaccinated, as of July 14, according to to the Department of Defense.

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