On Wednesday, the United States Army announced that it will “immediately” begin to discharge soldiers who refuse to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
“The United States Army announced today that it will immediately begin separating Soldiers from the service who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” the U.S. Army issued a statement.
“Army readiness depends on Soldiers who are prepared to train, deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars,” Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said. “Unvaccinated Soldiers present risk to the force and jeopardize readiness. We will begin involuntary separation proceedings for Soldiers who refuse the vaccine order and are not pending a final decision on an exemption.”
“Unvaccinated Soldiers who have requested medical exemption or religious accommodations are temporarily exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement while their requests are under review,” the statement added.
Soldiers who have their medical or religious exemption requests denied will have seven calendar days from the denial to either “[b]egin a COVID-19 vaccination regimen” or “[s]ubmit an appeal to the final appeal authority.”
“If a final appeal is denied, the Soldier will have seven calendar days from notice of denial to begin the COVID-19 vaccination regimen,” the statement explained.
“The Army has not yet involuntarily separated any Soldiers solely for refusing the lawful order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” the statement continued. “As of Jan. 26, Army commanders have relieved a total of six regular Army leaders, including two battalion commanders, and issued 3,073 general officer written reprimands to Soldiers for refusing the vaccination order.”
Based on U.S. Army data released on January 27, 96% of active members are fully vaccinated, while 79% of reserve members are fully vaccinated. These numbers are 97% and 83% respectively for those partially vaccinated.
709 permanent medical exemptions had been requested, with 6 approved and 656 disapproved. 2,910 permanent religious exemptions had been requested, with zero approvals and 266 disapprovals so far. 5,870 temporary exemptions had been granted, which includes requests for permanent exemptions.
Based on this data, 3,350 soldiers have refused to get the vaccine.
The Pentagon announced mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations in August 2021.