U.S. Military mandating vaccine for service members; Fort Riley says they’re prepared

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FORT RILEY (KSNT) – The U.S. Military is making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all service members. The Pentagon making that announcement Tuesday morning following the FDA’s full approval of Pfizer’s shot.

Officials at Fort Riley say they’re waiting on specific guidance on how to roll out that mandate, before they put enforcement measures in place. For now, they’ll keep working to vaccinate as many people on post as they can.

“We’d like to get 100 percent vaccinated. That’s the goal,” Fort Riley Public Health Director Brando Jobity said.

With the Pentagon’s announcement, that goal will likely soon be reached.

“A lot of people are contemplating the vaccination and the FDA approval that came yesterday should kind of help a lot more people say it’s time I should do this,” Fort Riley Nurse Practioner Wayne Darsow said.

According to Darsow, they’ve given out 20,000 vaccines total, and more than 65 percent of all soldiers on post are fully vaccinated. He said they have plenty of shots for everyone to get vaccinated, but their biggest challenge in upping that number is working against misinformation and getting service members facts about vaccines.

“It is vetted, it is proven, and the data is out there,” Jobity said.

The Department of Defense is putting together guidance for service members across the country and officials say details on mandates will be released in the coming days.

Officials with the Kansas National Guard say they’re also waiting on guidance from the DOD, but will continue to give soldiers the option to get vaccinated until then.

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