NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A U.S. congressman from Tennessee has joined with several other Republican lawmakers to voice their opposition to reports of an impending COVID-19 vaccine mandate for active duty troops.

Rep. Mark Green, who represents Tennessee’s seventh congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, said Friday that he sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, alongside 15 of his colleagues.

Austin has said he is working “expeditiously” to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for military personnel and is expected to ask President Biden to waive a federal law that requires individuals be given a choice if the vaccine is not fully licensed.

Green, a physician and decorated combat veteran wrote in the letter, “The law of the United States is clear. Mandatory vaccination is illegal for military personnel prior to complete approval (Doe v. Rumsfeld, 341 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2004). This has not occurred and could be another several months away.”

He explained that he believes the vaccines to be “safe and effective,” but added that servicemembers may not be forced to take any vaccines authorized under an Emergency Use Authorization.

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