UPDATED 1:15 PM PT – Tuesday, November 2, 2021
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby recently spoke out on how service members standing up for their right to choose whether to get the vaccine will be handled. During a press conference Monday, he said each case of a service member turning down the vaccine will be treated specifically and individually.
Kirby also said defense secretary Lloyd Austin doesn’t want to dictate how commanders at local levels use administrative or punitive measures. He noted that leaders have a range of tools to help service members make a decision.
“I mean, I think the secretary has been very clear with the leaders of the military departments that he wants them to execute the mandate with a sense of compassion and understanding, and it’s his expectation as well,” Kirby stated. “And I know he’s made this clear to them that he knows as a former commander himself that leaders have a range of tools available to them to help troops make the right decisions for themselves, for their units, for the families.”
Sec Austin—I will hold you to your word that you will protect the religious liberty of our service members and civilians when they request a religious accommodation for the vaccine mandate. pic.twitter.com/GkU9CZTC49
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) November 1, 2021
His remarks came as Tuesday marked the final day for those in the Air Force to comply with the mandate.