Oklahoma governor asks Pentagon to rescind vaccine mandate for state's National Guard

Gov. Stitt sent a letter to the Defense Department saying the vaccine mandate "violates the personal freedoms of many Oklahomans, as it asks them to potentially sacrifice their personal beliefs in order to not lose their jobs."

Updated: November 2, 2021 - 6:24pm

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Oklahoma's Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt asked Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to rescind his vaccine mandate for members of the state's National Guard. 

According to The Hill, Stitt sent a letter to the Defense Department saying it "violates the personal freedoms of many Oklahomans, as it asks them to potentially sacrifice their personal beliefs in order to not lose their jobs."

"These are patriotic citizens who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect others in our communities during times of greatest need,” Stitt continued.

In August, Austin ordered that all military members be vaccinated against COVID-19 following the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the Pfizer vaccine.

Stitt estimated in his letter that over 800 members of Oklahoma's national guard "have not and do not plan” to get the vaccine, which is roughly 10% of the entire branch.

Stitt called the vaccine mandate "irresponsible" and said it could "potentially limit" the number of guardsmen available to respond to national emergencies.

"I sincerely ask that you reconsider the policy of mandating COVID-19 vaccination for all national guardsmen in Oklahoma," Stitt concluded. 

This letter comes as GOP governors across the country attempt to challenge President Biden's federal vaccine mandate for contractors and other federal employees. 

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