Army says 98 percent of active duty personnel got vaccine before deadline

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The Army said Thursday that 98 percent of its active-duty troops have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine ahead of this week’s deadline to get inoculated.

In a statement, the Army said that more than 468,000 active-component soldiers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, 96 percent of active-duty soldiers — more than 461,000 — are fully vaccinated. 

More than 3,800 active-duty soldiers, representing less than 1 percent of the active-duty force, have refused to get vaccinated without a pending or approved exemption. Starting in January, commanders will initiate involuntary separation for these soldiers.

“Vaccinating our Soldiers against COVID-19 is first and foremost about Army readiness,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said in a statement.

“To those who continue to refuse the vaccine and are not pending a final decision on a medical or administrative exemption, I strongly encourage you to get the vaccine,” she continued. “If not, we will begin involuntary separation proceedings.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin mandated vaccinations for the military in late August but left it up to each military service to set their own deadlines.

The Army gave active-duty soldiers until Wednesday to be vaccinated, while Army National Guard and Reservists still have until June 30 to be in compliance — the latest deadlines among the military services.

The Air Force gave active-duty airmen until Nov. 2 to be vaccinated, while Air National Guard and Reservists had until Dec. 2. The service has already discharged 27 personnel for refusing to get inoculated. 

The Navy and Marine Corps set Nov. 28 deadlines for their active-duty components to be vaccinated. Meanwhile, Navy reservists have until Dec. 28 to be inoculated.

The Navy said Wednesday that it is beginning to discharge sailors who refuse to comply with the mandate.

Across all Army components, 83 percent of soldiers have received at least one dose of a vaccine or are fully vaccinated, the Army said.

Thus far, Army commanders have relieved six active-duty leaders and issued more than 2,700 general officer written reprimands to soldiers for refusing to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, more than 6,200 active-duty soldiers have temporary medical or administrative exemptions.

Army officials have received 621 requests for permanent medical exemptions — of which four have been approved, 516 have been disapproved and 101 are under review. The Army has also received 1,746 religious accommodation requests, of which 85 have been disapproved and 1,661 are under review.

Tags Army COVID-19 Defense Department Lloyd Austin Vaccination vaccine mandates

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