5 GOP Guvs Demand Pentagon Ditches Vax Mandate for National Guard
Five GOP governors have demanded the Pentagon scrap a COVID vaccine mandate for National Guard soldiers, arguing that the federal government can’t control what happens with each state’s National Guard. Governors from Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, Mississippi, and Nebraska made the demands in a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, in a separate statement, called the mandate “unconscionable.” Austin recently reinforced his mandate for the Guard, prompted by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s directive to make the vaccine optional for Guard members in his state.
National Guard Bureau data showed last week that the Air National Guard is 92 percent vaccinated, and more than 66 percent of Army National Guard members have had at least one jab. These rates hover well below those of the other branches of the armed forces. National Guard soldiers, who make up 19 percent of the country’s forces, account for a disproportionate 28 percent of all COVID-related deaths in the military.