COVID booster shots not required for DoD personnel

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Col. Jeffery Lucas receives the COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 12 at the Occupational Health center in Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care Clinic from Sgt. Gregory Yacovou, a medic with 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI). Lucas joins several senior leaders to set the example at Fort Drum about the importance of getting vaccinated to fight the pandemic. Fort Drum Medical Activity personnel, health care workers and first responders were among the first community members on post to get vaccinated, in accordance with the Department of Defense phased vaccine distribution plan. (Photo by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWTI) — COVID boosters have yet to be required for servicemembers.

In a memorandum on December 17 from the U.S. Secretary of Defense, officials confirmed that doses of the COVID-19 vaccine booster are not mandatory for any Department of Defense personnel.

Officials stated that this is because a booster dose is not required for an individual to be considered fully vaccinated.

DoD personnel are still considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose in a two-dose vaccine series, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine. This includes the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Additionally, personnel are considered fully vaccinated if they have completed a primary COVID-19 vaccination series with a World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing vaccine, or a primary COVID-19 vaccination series while enrolled in a clinical trial.

However, the DoD is recommending all eligible personnel to receive a booster dose. To be eligible, individuals must have completed the primary Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series six months prior, or received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over two months ago.

COVID-19 vaccines administered by the Department of Defense are available to specified personnel. This includes Servicemembers, DoD civilian employees, eligible DoD beneficiaries and select contractor personnel.

Those who receive a COVID-19 vaccination booster dose from a non-military site are required to provide data for immunization records.

This is in accordance with Defense Health Agency Interim Procedures Memorandum 20-004, which was issued in May 2021.

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