Noem, Republican governors call for end to military vaccine mandate

RAPID CITY, S.D – A group of Republican governors, including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, submitted an open letter on Wednesday urging congressional leaders to remove the Covid-19 vaccine mandate on members of the military, according to a release on the South Dakota State News website.

The governors said in the letter that the mandate “creates a national security risk” by reducing the number of people willing and able to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The military has required vaccines since Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a memo in August 2021 making vaccines mandatory for all service members, a requirement that the memo called “necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people.”

According to the governors’ letter, 8000 active duty armed forces members have been discharged since the implementation of the mandate, with the National Guard expecting to discharge around 14,000 more in the next two years.

At the same time, both the Army and Army National Guard have missed their yearly recruiting goals by 25% and 10% respectively.

The other governors who signed the letter include:

  • Governor Bill Lee, State of Tennessee
  • Governor Kay Ivey, State of Alabama
  • Governor Doug Ducey, State of Arizona
  • Governor Asa Hutchinson, State of Arkansas
  • Governor Ron DeSantis, State of Florida
  • Governor Brad Little, State of Idaho
  • Governor Eric Holcomb, State of Indiana
  • Governor Kim Reynolds, State of Iowa
  • Governor Tate Reeves, State of Mississippi
  • Governor Mike Parson, State of Missouri
  • Governor Greg Gianforte, State of Montana
  • Governor Pete Ricketts, State of Nebraska
  • Governor Chris Sununu, State of New Hampshire
  • Governor Doug Burgum, State of North Dakota
  • Governor Kevin Stitt, State of Oklahoma
  • Governor Henry McMaster, State of South Carolina
  • Governor Spencer Cox, State of Utah
  • Governor Kristi Noem, State of South Dakota
  • Governor Glenn Youngkin, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Governor Greg Abbott, State of Texas
  • Governor Mark Gordon, State of Wyoming