On Wednesday, the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps released a video message encouraging Marines to volunteer for the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently rolling out for delivery across the country. The video shows both General David H. Berger and Sergeant Major Troy E. Black receiving the COVID vaccine as well.
“Marines, in the coming months you will be offered the opportunity to receive your COVID-19 vaccination. Initially, there will be a limited supply, and like all things, there will be a priority of how they will be distributed.” General Neller says in the video.
“Once available, we highly encourage you to receive the vaccine to protect your health, your families, and to lower public health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” adds SgtMaj Black.
Currently, U.S. military personnel, including Marines, are not required to receive the COVID vaccine due to the nature of its emergency approval through the Food and Drug Administration. Once the vaccine has completed the full traditional medical vetting, it’s likely that the vaccine will become mandatory, not unlike the broad suite of vaccines and injections service members already receive both during their in-processing and often prior to deployments.
“Sergeant Major and I have received the vaccine, and we have confidence in its effectiveness and its safety,” the Commandant explains. “We’re encouraging everybody who is presented the possibility to take it. This improves our readiness and the ability to respond when the nation needs us.”
General Neller and SgtMaj Black aren’t the only military officials who have taken a “lead from the front” approach to the new COVID-19 vaccine. Almost immediately after receiving FDA approval, acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, Deputy Secretary David Norquist, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. John Hyten, and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Joint Chiefs Ramon Colon-Lopez were all among the first to receive the vaccine.
“What we’re looking at is the department leadership, and also the service leadership, combatant commanders, so we can get that message out to as large a population as possible,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.