WASHINGTON — On Thursday President Joe Biden announced that federal workers will be required to attest they’ve been vaccinated against the coronavirus or else face mandatory masking, weekly testing, distancing, and other new rules.
The Department of Defense confirmed that the new, strict guidelines will also apply to all military and civilian DoD personnel.
"In accordance with the guidance the President issued today, all military and civilian DoD personnel will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. Personnel unable or unwilling to do that will be required to wear a mask, physically distance, comply with a regular testing requirement and be subject to official travel restrictions," Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Jamal Brown said in a statement.
The guidelines are aimed at boosting sluggish vaccination rates among the four million Americans who draw federal paychecks and to set an example for private employers around the country.
Biden also directed the Defense Department to look into adding the COVID-19 shot to its list of required vaccinations for members of the military. And he has directed his team to take steps to apply similar requirements to all federal contractors.
Brown said U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is exploring options as to how and when to do just that.
"In the meantime, we continue to offer vaccines to our personnel and their families around the world. And we will continue to adjust our protocols to the local conditions of the communities we serve in," Brown said.
Thursday's announcement comes just a day after the Defense Department announced masks would be required at some military installations, regardless of a person's vaccination status.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.