The United States Army will begin separating soldiers from service who refuse to obtainvaccines.
Effective immediately, soldiers “who have refused the legal order to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and do not have a pending or approved exemption request” will be separated from the military and may potentially be removed from their posts, the army said in a statement.
“Separation” is a general term that includes discharge, release from active duty, and similar changes in active or reserve status.
The US Navy, Air Force and Marines have already started separations for vaccine refusal. The Pentagonthat he intended to make the vaccine a requirement for the military.
It will be the first time the military has unwittingly separated soldiers for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, but the Pentagon says commanders relieved six regular army leaders, including two battalion commanders, and referred 3,073 written reprimands to general officers for refusing the vaccine. vaccination order, starting January 26.
The vaccination policy applies to Regular Army Soldiers, Title 10 Active Duty Reserve Soldiers, and Cadets. Those who are separated will not be entitled to involuntary severance pay.
Soldiers are allowed to request a medical exemption or religious accommodation, but if their request is denied, they have seven days to start the vaccination or appeal. If the appeal is rejected, they will still have seven days to start the vaccination schedule.
“The Army’s readiness depends on soldiers who are ready to train, deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars,” Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said in a statement. “Unvaccinated soldiers pose a risk to the force and compromise readiness. We will initiate an involuntary separation process for soldiers who refuse the order of vaccines and who are not awaiting a final decision on an exemption. .”
The Army reports that 96% of active duty soldiers have already completed vaccination, as have 79% of Army reservists. A slightly higher number are partially vaccinated.
Army leaders say they will continue to advise soldiers on the health benefits of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
-Eleanor Watson contributed reporting.