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Gov. Stitt requests vaccine mandate for National Guard to be suspended

Gov. Stitt sent a letter this week to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Gov. Stitt sent a letter this week to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 2:17 PM CDT
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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KSWO) - Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is requesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates for members of the Oklahoma National Guard to be suspended.

Gov. Stitt sent a letter this week to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

In the letter, Gov. Stitt wrote about all of the work the Oklahoma National Guard does to help out during extreme weather, referencing last year’s October ice storm and the frigid temperatures in February.

“It is during these challenging times that the National Guard is most needed,” Gov. Stitt said. “The National Guard is uniquely positioned to step up and attack the hardest problems during the harshest times.”

In the letter, Gov. Stitt said about 800 Oklahoma guardsmen have not received or or not planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine. That makes up about 10% of Oklahoma’s overall force.

“It is irresponsible for the federal government to place mandatory vaccine obligations on Oklahoma national guardsmen which could potentially limit the number of individuals that I can call upon to assist the state during an emergency,” Gov. Stitt said.

Secretary Austin has so far not responded to the request.

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