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Mask Policy, Updated November 8, 2021

Mask wear is required indoors throughout DM regardless of vaccination status. 

When do I not have to wear a mask on base?

In accordance with the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Air Force’s exception criteria, mask wear is not required under the following circumstances:


  • When outdoors and proper physical distancing can be maintained
  • When actively participating in physical fitness activities either indoors or outdoors and either proper physical distancing is maintained or additional measures are implemented to mitigate the threat of transmission
  • When necessary to reasonably accommodate a religious belief
  • When underlying health conditions that prohibit the wear of a face covering exist and the individual is in possession of medical documentation from a health care provider outlining such a condition and the restrictions the condition places on wear of a face covering
  • When an individual is alone in a vehicle or is sharing the vehicle only with members of their household
  • When use substantively interferes with the proper wear and use of personal protective equipment necessary for the accomplishment of one's military duties
  • When personnel are in primary aircrew positions during critical phases of flight or emergencies; or when using flight crew oxygen equipment
  • When clear or unrestricted visualization of verbal communication are essential to safe and effective operations


  • When an individual is alone in an office with floor-to-ceiling walls with a closed door
  • For brief periods of time when eating and drinking while maintaining distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines and instructions from commanders and supervisors
  • When the mask is required to be lowered briefly for identification or security purposes
  • When necessary to reasonably accommodate an individual with a disability

DM COVID-19 Vaccine Administration



Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall directed COVID-19 vaccine implementation guidelines for Active Duty Airmen to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 2 to help ensure their health and safety, while preserving force readiness. Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve personnel are required to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 2.

Vaccine Resource Center from the Military Health System has information on policies and forms required.                                                                   

Where Can I get a Vaccine? gif

Quick Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on the COVID-19 Vaccine and Mandate:

  1. Should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?  Yes. The vaccine will help protect you from getting COVID-19. If you still get infected after you get vaccinated, the vaccine may prevent serious illness. By getting vaccinated, you can also help protect people around you.
  2. Will I have a choice in which COVID-19 vaccine I receive?  Yes. Airmen and Guardians who elect to accept the mandatory vaccine from a Military Treatment Facility will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 ® vaccine which was formally licensed by the FDA on Aug. 23, 2021. Airmen and Guardians may also choose to receive Emergency Use Authorization COVID-19 vaccines or the Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 ® from civilian providers. There are numerous off-base locations available for vaccination. If an Airman or Guardian decides to receive (or has already received) the vaccine from a civilian provider, they should receive and submit documentation to their Immunization Clinic to update their immunization record.
  3. Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?  No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick.
  4. If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?  Yes. CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19, because you can catch it more than once. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection will last.
  5. When are you considered fully vaccinated?  Two weeks after your second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
  6. Is it required for Airmen to get the vaccine before they deploy?  Yes. The safety of our deploying personnel is paramount. Deadlines and guidelines for those deploying will be determined based on the time of departure.
  7. Can I receive a waiver so I don’t have to receive the vaccine?  Much like the annual flu shot, there are potential medical waivers and administrative accommodations, including religious accommodations, AFPD 52-2, Accommodation of Religious Practices in the Air Force, that Airmen and Guardians may request. The guidance for waivers is included in AFI 48-110, Immunizations and Chemoprophylaxis for the Prevention of Infectious Diseases and DAFI 52-201, Religious Freedom in the Department of the Air Force. Additionally, there will be no exemptions from the vaccine due to approved retirements or separations. The waiver authority for immunization exceptions is the MAJCOM/FLDCOM commander. If the waiver is denied, the appeal authority is to the DAF Surgeon General.
  8. Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition?  Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.
  9. Are Civil Service employees in the Department of the Air Force required to receive the vaccine?  No, the current COVID vaccine mandate only applies to Active Duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen and Guardians at this time. We highly encourage everyone to help protect themselves and others by being vaccinated. This will help defend against virus variants and mitigate the effects of an infection.
  10. Is it better to get natural immunity to COVID-19 rather than immunity from a vaccine?  No. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection lasts. Vaccination is the best protection, and it is safe. People who get COVID-19 can have serious illnesses, and some have debilitating symptoms that persist for months.
  11. Will Airmen be able to go off-base to a civilian doctor for a COVID-19 vaccination?  Yes. There are numerous off-base locations available for vaccination. If an Airman or Guardian decides to receive (or has already received) the vaccine from a civilian provider, they should receive and submit documentation to their Immunization Clinic to update their immunization record.
  12. Why do I need two COVID-19 shots?  Currently authorized vaccines, and most vaccines under development, require two doses of vaccine. The first shot helps the immune system recognize the virus, and the second shot strengthens the immune response. You need both to get the best protection.
  13. Will the shot hurt or make me sick?  There may be side effects, but they should go away within a few days. Possible side effects include a sore arm, headache, fever, or body aches. This does not mean you have COVID-19. Side effects are signs that the vaccine is working to build immunity. If they don’t go away in a week, or you have more serious symptoms, call your doctor.
  14. Are there long-term side effects from COVID-19 vaccine?  Because all COVID-19 vaccines are new, it will take more time and more people getting vaccinated to learn about very rare or possible long-term side effects. The good news is, at least eight weeks’ worth of safety data were gathered in the clinical trials for all the authorized vaccines, and it’s unusual for vaccine side effects to appear more than eight weeks after vaccination. Long-term side effects (if any) would be considered a service-connected disability for active duty members
  15. How do I know if COVID-19 vaccine is safe?  All COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different ages, races, and ethnicities. There were no serious safety concerns. CDC and the FDA will keep monitoring the vaccines to look for safety issues after they are authorized and in use.
  16. How do I report problems or bad reactions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?  All recipients who receive the vaccine are encouraged to enroll in v-safe. V-safe is a new voluntary smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to check in with people who have been vaccinated to identify potential side effects after COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe asks questions that help CDC monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe also provides second-dose reminders if needed and live telephone follow-up by CDC if participants report a significant health impact following COVID-19 vaccination. For more information on how to sign up, visit:
  17. What if I have reservations on receiving the COVID-19 vaccination?  Immediately get with your chain-of-command, first shirt, and/or primary care provider to help with any concerns. Medical appointments are mandatory and failure to show may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. 
  18. Where can I find more information?  We recommend you get additional details from reliable resources like the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Each of those organizations have created dedicated websites that provide additional information:

  1. What if I have specific questions about getting the COVID-19 vaccine given my personal health history?  Because every person is unique, we recommend you consult with your healthcare team if you have any questions or concerns that aren’t addressed in the available resources.