‘There’s a degree of mistrust’: a third of US military personnel refuse Covid vaccine

‘There’s a degree of mistrust’: a third of US military personnel refuse Covid vaccine

Posted for: MugsMalone

Oliver Milman

Soldiers have previously been given approved vaccines on a mandatory basis but because the vaccines for the coronavirus have only been given an emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, members of the military are able to opt out.

Many are choosing to do so, with military officials recently telling Congress that a third of service members have declined the shots, the New York Times reported. At the large Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina, acceptance rates for the vaccines are below 50%.

Lloyd Austin, the US defense secretary, said there was some hesitancy, especially among people of color, to get the vaccine and that the military needed to be aware the shots are safe.

“Because of some things that have happened in the past, there’s a degree of mistrust, and I think we have to collectively work hard to dispel rumors and to provide facts to people,” said Austin, who is Black and has got the vaccine himself.

“It’s been my experience that when armed with the facts, people will tend to make the right decisions.”

Austin, who was speaking last week after a tour of a vaccination site in Los Angeles, said he wanted service members to talk to military health officials and read federal government guidance to be informed about the vaccines. “We want them to have the facts,” he said.

But the vaccine reluctance in the military is a reflection of broader American society, with people declining the jabs for a variety of reasons. Some mistrust the emergency approval of the vaccine, others feel unthreatened by a pandemic that has claimed more than 500,000 lives in the US while some have been convinced by baseless conspiracy theories, spread on social media, that the vaccines are a form of societal control involving implanted microchips.

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