House Dems call on Biden to make COVID vaccine mandatory for military

California Congressman Jimmy Panetta led a group of seven Democrats that requested a waiver of informed consent, meaning permission from soldiers to be vaccinated, be issued in a letter sent to Biden on Wednesday. The group cited Pentagon figures that showed one-third of service members offered a vaccine had already refused to take it, while polls have also indicated a high level of resistance to being inoculated in the military. Unlike the general population, military members are obliged to take certain vaccines, although the COVID-19 shots have not yet been made mandatory…

Austin addressed vaccine hesitancy after touring a mass vaccination site in Los Angeles last month. He said that some of the reluctance came from people of color due to “some things that have happened in the past.” Austin, who is Black, said he had personally been vaccinated and was working hard to “dispel rumors” about the vaccines in general, while noting that misinformation was key factor driving those who refuse to be vaccinated.

“It’s really important that … people have the facts, and we found that armed with the facts, they’ll make the right decisions typically,” Austin said. “I’ve taken the vaccine. I consider it to be safe. We’ve not seen very many side effects that are harmful.”