Nov 3, 2021 - Health

Air Force: Nearly 97% of active members complied with vaccine mandate

A U.S. Air Force Airman preparing a dose of coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination clinic in Boston in February 2021.
A U.S. Air Force service member preparing a dose of a coronavirus vaccine in Boston in February. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The Air Force said Wednesday that nearly 97% of its approximately 326,000 active duty service members have complied with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's mandate and have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine before the branch's Nov. 2 deadline.

Why it matters: Around 8,500 active members missed the deadline. Many of them have filed for medical exemptions and religious accommodations, which are being reviewed by the department.

  • The department said its medical personnel vaccinated nearly 100,000 service members in just over two months

What they're saying: “Our Airmen need to be prepared to operate anytime, anywhere in the world,” Air Force chief of staff Gen. CQ Brown said in a statement.

  • “Getting vaccinated ensures we are a ready force to meet our commitments to the nation while protecting the health of our team and families," he added.

What's next: Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members are required to receive at least one dose by Dec. 2.

Go deeper: Biden announces new strategy to reduce military and veteran suicides

Go deeper