Active duty personnel must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 24, and reserve personnel by Dec. 17
Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, published a fragmentary order Sept. 3 amplifying Department of Defense guidance mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for service members.
The order, FRAGO 24-21, lays out the vaccination timeline for service members assigned to MCI-West installations, and provides guidance on medical and administrative exemptions.
According to the order, active duty personnel must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 24, and reserve personnel by Dec. 17. Service members are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose, whether they receive a single or two-dose vaccine.
“The longer we allow coronavirus to linger, the more opportunities it has to mutate and continue to impact our way of life. As cases rise and we start to put more restrictions into place, getting vaccinated and wearing a mask are our only pathways to return to normalcy.”U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Jason Woodworth, commanding general of MCI-West, MCB Camp Pendleton.
Base and unit commanders will coordinate with their local military treatment facilities to create a plan to vaccinate all service members. Personnel may choose to be vaccinated at approved non-military facilities, but are required to provide verification to their command by the end of the next duty day.
According to DoD guidance, only Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines are mandatory. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III published a vaccine mandate on Aug. 24, 2021, making the COVID-19 FDA approved vaccines mandatory for all U.S. military servicemembers. Currently Pfizer is the only FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine. Service members who have received a vaccine under emergency use authorization (EUA) prior to or after issuance of the FRAGORD are considered fully vaccinated.
Permanent medical exemptions can be granted for service members who have a medical contraindication to the vaccine. Permanent medical exception requests must be reviewed and endorsed by the MCI-West Public Health Emergency Officer before being routed to Headquarters Marine Corps.
According to FRAGO 24-21, temporary medical exemptions must be authorized by a licensed military healthcare provider. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends pregnant women receive the vaccine, a healthcare provider can grant a temporary medical exemption for pregnant service members. A history of coronavirus disease or positive serology are not valid reasons for exemption. Being close to separation or retirement is also not a valid reason for exemption.
Courtesy of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, edited for context and format by Global Biodefense.