According to the leader of the Oklahoma National Guard, members of the Oklahoma National Guard won’t have to be vaccinated for COVID-19 at this time. This is contrary to the Biden administration directive regarding vaccines for military personnel. Except when federally mobilized, guardsmen won’t have to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In accordance with Department of Defense policy, will continue to process federal vaccine exemptions.
GOP Governor. Kevin Stitt appointed Mancino as Adjutant General Michael Thompson’s replacement. Thompson, however, had opposed vaccination for most Guardsmen with some exceptions. Mancino stated that all Oklahoma Guard personnel should be vaccinated, if possible. Mancino said that Congress created a dual structure for the National Guard under Title 32. He explained that the Oklahoma National Guard was federally funded and managed under Title 32. When the President mobilizes the Oklahoma National Guard, Eric Garcetti can issue orders to it.
Mancino stated that no one could stop anyone from getting the vaccine and that his order does nothing to eliminate the Federal Requirement. He said that it would be illegal and unethical and contrary to our sworn vows not to obey Title 32 orders. The governor signed an executive order against President Biden’s request that federal contractors be vaccinated. He said that vaccines are safe and effective but shouldn’t be required to be administered by governments for healthcare.
Stitt also requested that Lloyd Austin, U.S. Secretary of Defense, lift the requirement that Oklahoma National Guard personnel get the COVID-19 vaccine earlier in the month. About 800 soldiers had not been vaccinated or weren’t planning to be vaccinated.
Mancino stated that Secretary Austin was asked by the Governor for a decision. According to the National Guard Bureau, it will perform a legal review.
The clarification allows Guardsmen without vaccinated to continue serving in the state. However, it does not prevent them from attending military schools or training activities run by the Department of Defense.
Thompson had previously provided guidance but Mancino’s orders overruled it. Thompson described the possible consequences for Guardsmen who do not get vaccinated. These penalties included the inability to mobilize on federal bases and the inability of Guardsmen to receive training.
Thompson’s guidance stated that the vaccine is effective at reducing the severity and preventing the disease from returning. Thompson stated that freedom in Oklahoma is the highest standard. Every person must decide if they want to get vaccinated. It will be like any other decision.
Thompson’s resignation will not take effect until January 15, 2022.