TEMPLE, Texas — A change.org petition was started in protest to the announcement that all U.S. military members will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The requirement is part of a plan laid out by the Pentagon and endorsed by President Joe Biden with memos to troops from top Pentagon leaders saying it is a necessary step to maintain military readiness, according to the Associated Press.
"We need each and every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, Marine, and Guardian healthy and capable of performing our duties," the official memorandum from U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley reads. "COVID-19 is a threat to force protection and readiness."
"Whether or not you support the new vaccines, I do NOT believe they should be forced and pressured on our troops to take them before they're even FDA approved," Guy Peart, the organizer of the petition, stated in its description.
The FDA did grant Emergency Use Authorizations for Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines, which came after a series of trials. However, the FDA continues to monitor the safety of the vaccines.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said he hopes the FDA will give full approval before the end of the month. When that happens, he anticipates it will help more and more people get vaccinated.
Even so, Peart argues requiring vaccines at the cost of military members' personal lives is "unfair and unjust."
"Mandating vaccines in the military is not new," Milley's memorandum reads. "Since the first days of basic training and throughout our service, we've received multiple vaccines... We fight together in the defense of our Nation. We are responsible for each other's health and safety. Vaccines are the best tools to protect us from COVID-19."
As of Tuesday morning, the petition garnered more than 5,200 signatures out of its 7,500 signature goal.