WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of the U.S. military will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine beginning next month under a plan laid out by the Pentagon Monday and endorsed by President Joe Biden.

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Top Pentagon leaders said in memos to the troops that the vaccine is a necessary step to maintain military readiness.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the mid-September deadline could be accelerated if the vaccine receives final FDA approval or infection rates continue to rise.

Biden told defense officials last week to develop a plan requiring troops to get shots as part of a broader campaign to increase vaccinations in the federal workforce.

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