Pentagon to respond to Oklahoma National Guard vaccination policy
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KSWO) - The Pentagon is planning a response after the new adjutant general for the Oklahoma National Guard updated the guard’s COVID-19 vaccine policy.
According to Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Mancino, the guard is state-controlled and federally-funded, taking orders from the governor, meaning the COVID-19 vaccine will not be required for Oklahoma National Guard members.
This means the Oklahoma National Guard will not enforce the federal mandate, issued in August, that U.S. military service members would have to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt recently requested Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to suspend the mandate.
In a statement to CNN, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said quote, “We are aware of the memo issued by the Oklahoma Adjutant General regarding COVID vaccination for Guardsmen and the governor’s letter requesting exemption. We will respond to the governor appropriately.”
The decision to not enforce the federal mandate was one of the first actions taken by Brig. Gen. Mancino, who was named to the position by Gov. Stitt last week.
Mancino took over for Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson, who served as adjutant general for the Oklahoma National Guard since Nov. 2017.
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