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A large majority of military service members have received the Covid-19 vaccine after a department-wide mandate, but some members are still hesitant to get the shot.

  • Col. Douglas Jackson (USAF), military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said decisions among service members not to receive the vaccine are mostly for personal, not political, reasons and that there has been hesitancy about past vaccines as well.
  • Jackson said the Defense Department vaccination campaign has been highly effective overall, with less than 2% of active duty service members still not vaccinated, the majority of that group awaiting results of requests for religious, medical or administrative exemptions.
  • Jackson recommended major strategies for addressing vaccine hesitancy: adjust communication efforts, emphasize fallibility with the recognition that initial prescriptions will not always be accurate and adjust guidance quickly if necessary.

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August 2022
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