The US Army will begin discharging soldiers who refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, unless the service member has an approved exemption or pending request.
“Army readiness depends on Soldiers who are prepared to train, deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”
The order applies to “Army Soldiers, reserve component Soldiers serving on Title 10 active-duty, and cadets,” according to the Army.
Soldiers discharged due to vaccine refusal “will not be eligible for involuntary separation pay and may be subject to recoupment of any unearned special or incentive pays,” the Army said.
The Army reported a 96% vaccine completion rate for active duty soldiers and a 79% completion rate for reservists as of January 26. Data released at the time showed that six regular Army leaders, including two battalion commanders, were relieved of duty and 3,073 soldiers were issued written reprimands for refusing the vaccination order.
The recent move is the latest in the military’s efforts to bolster its vaccine mandate that was first introduced by the Pentagon in August 2021. CNN previously reported in December that the US Marine Corps had discharged 103 service members for refusing to take the Covid-19 vaccine.