Story at a glance

  • The U.S. Army announced on Tuesday it will require all active duty soldiers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 15.
  • “Case counts and deaths continue to be concerning as the Delta variant spreads, which makes protecting the force through mandatory vaccination a health and readiness priority for the total Army."
  • National Guard and Reserve units are expected to be fully vaccinated by June 30, 2022.

The U.S. Army announced on Tuesday it will require all active duty soldiers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 15.  

“This is quite literally a matter of life and death for our Soldiers, their families and the communities in which we live,” Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the Army's surgeon general, said in a statement.  

“Case counts and deaths continue to be concerning as the Delta variant spreads, which makes protecting the force through mandatory vaccination a health and readiness priority for the total Army,” Dingle added. 


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National Guard and Reserve units are expected to be fully vaccinated by June 30, 2022. 

The Army’s announcement follows a directive in August from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin mandating vaccination for all U.S. service members using vaccines with full Food and Drug Administration approval. Yet members would be considered fully vaccinated if they voluntarily receive their shots using vaccines authorized for emergency use. 

“The Secretaries of the Military Departments should impose ambitious timelines for Implementation,” Austin wrote in the memorandum. “Military Departments will report regularly on vaccination completion using established systems for other mandatory vaccine reporting.” 


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Soldiers who refuse the vaccine requirement will be subject to initial counsel by their “chain of command and medical providers.” But continued refusal could lead to disciplinary action up to relief of duties or discharge. Members may request exemptions for medical, religious or administrative reasons. 


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Published on Sep 15, 2021