Florida National Guard General James Eifert on Monday said the vaccine mandate does not impact his ability to activate unvaccinated service members to help with Hurricane Ian response efforts.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Sunday.
“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”
Hurricane Ian is expected to hit Florida by the middle of the week.
“The vaccine mandate does not impact our ability to bring people in on state active duty… We will be activating all of those people [who are unvaccinated].” Eifert said.
Major General James O. Eifert: "The vaccine mandate does not impact our ability to bring people in on state active duty… We will be activating all of those people [who are unvaccinated]." pic.twitter.com/G6u45yThVQ
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) September 26, 2022
Florida’s Voice reported:
Major General James O. Eifert declared that unvaccinated military members can be reactivated in the Florida National Guard to protect the state with impending Hurricane Ian.
Earlier this year, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III mandated that all service members receive COVID-19 vaccination.
Per the Department of Defense, National Guardsmen who refuse to receive the shots risk repercussions and consequences unless an authorized exception is granted. Loss of wages or the capacity to train are examples. Those who continue to disobey a valid order risk being discharged.
Despite the mandate, unvaccinated servicemen and women of the National Guard will be able to serve Florida if needed, he said.
The Major General’s comments on protocol for unvaccinated members followed DeSantis’ comments on generators, emergency preparations, and evacuation warnings. He told Floridians to only operate generators outdoors.