Nearly 3,000 unvaccinated Army soldiers reprimanded

The Army has issued 2,994 written reprimands to soldiers who have so far refused to follow the Pentagon’s COVID-19 mandate, the service revealed Wednesday.   

The number of reprimands is up by more than 200 since last month as the Pentagon has struggled to push thousands of service members toward compliance with its vaccine mandate, first announced in August.  

Though 97 percent of active-duty Army troops have been partially or fully vaccinated, that still leaves roughly 9,500 individuals who have so far avoided the shot, including 5,921 who have sought temporary exemptions and 3,611 who have outright refused. 

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Service officials in December said any soldiers who have refused the vaccine without a pending or approved exemption will risk being booted from the Army beginning this month and have already relieved six active-duty leaders, including two battalion commanders. 

Any involuntarily separations have yet to take place, but Army officials intend to issue further guidance for the mandatory initiation of separation for soldiers who refuse the vaccine order, according to Wednesday’s announcement.   

The service is also in the midst of considering thousands of requests for religious and medical exemptions from the shot.  

So far, the Army has approved five of the 653 requests for medical exemptions it’s received and none of the 2,128 religious exemption requests it's gotten.  

Other military branches have already begun to remove service members from the ranks for refusing the shot, including the Marine Corps, which has discharged 251 individuals since December, and the Navy, which has discharged a group of 20 sailors.

—Updated at 2:27 p.m.