Army to immediately start discharging vaccine refusers

Feb 2, 2022, 12:12 PM | Updated: Feb 3, 2022, 10:19 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army said Wednesday it will immediately begin discharging soldiers who have refused to get the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine, putting more than 3,300 service members at risk of being thrown out soon.

The Army’s announcement makes it the final military service to lay out its discharge policy for vaccine refusers. The Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy have already discharged active-duty troops or entry-level personnel at boot camps for refusing the shots. So far, the Army has not discharged any.

According to data released by the Army last week, more than 3,300 soldiers have refused to get the vaccine. The Army has said that more than 3,000 soldiers have been issued official written reprimands, which suggests they are already identified in the disciplinary process, and some of them could be among the first to be discharged.

The Pentagon has ordered all service members — active-duty, National Guard and Reserves — to get the vaccine, saying it is critical to maintaining the health and readiness of the force. COVID-19 cases continue to surge around the country as a result of the omicron variant.

Roughly 97% of all Army soldiers have gotten at least one shot. More than 3,000 have requested medical or religious exemptions.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth issued the directive Wednesday ordering commanders to begin involuntary separation proceedings against those who have refused the shots and do not have a pending or approved exemption.

“Army readiness depends on soldiers who are prepared to train, deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars,” she said. “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 includes active-duty soldiers, reserves serving on active duty, and cadets at the Military Academy at West Point, its prepatory school and ROTC.

The detailed order said soldiers will be discharged for misconduct, and noted that those who are eligible to retire may do so before July 1.

Overall, more than 650 Marines, airmen and sailors have been thrown out of the military or dismissed from entry-level training at boot camps, according to data released this week and last week by the services.

The military services have been going through a methodical process to deal with those who refuse the vaccine as well as those who request medical, administrative or religious exemptions. The reviews require counseling with medical personnel and chaplains as well as senior commanders.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong, Tuesday, July 5, 2...
Associated Press

Hong Kong’s John Lee stresses balance in easing quarantine

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s new leader John Lee said Tuesday at his first news conference since taking office that he will work on easing restrictions for travelers while balancing the risks of a coronavirus outbreak overwhelming the health care system. Hong Kong and mainland China are among the few places in the world […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Xiao Jianhua, a Chinese-born Canadian billionaire talks to reporters outside the Internation...
Associated Press

Canada says China bars diplomats from Canadian tycoon trial

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities refused to allow Canadian diplomats to attend the trial of a Chinese-born Canadian tycoon who disappeared from Hong Kong five years ago, Canada’s government said Tuesday. Xiao Jianhua was last seen at a Hong Kong hotel in January 2017 and is believed to have been taken to the mainland by […]
21 hours ago
This image released by Bleecker Street shows Freida Pinto, left, and Zawe Ashton in a scene from "M...
Associated Press

‘Minions’ set box office on fire with $108.5 million debut

Families went bananas for Minions this weekend at the movie theater. ” Minions: The Rise of Gru ” brought in an estimated $108.5 million in ticket sales from 4,391 screens in North America, Universal Pictures said Sunday. By the end of the Monday’s July Fourth holiday, it will likely have earned over $127.9 million. The […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Firefighters battle fresh wildfire in Northern California

BRIDGEPORT, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters in Northern California were battling a fresh wildfire that broke out Monday east of Sacramento and forced a number of evacuations. The fire burning in Amador County quickly spread to 959 acres (388 hectares) as of just after 7 p.m. Monday, according to Cal Fire. The fire agency had said […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, left, and lawyer Rusty Webb enter the Robert C. Byrd United...
Associated Press

US judge finds for 3 drug distributors in WVa opioid lawsuit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A federal judge on Monday ruled in favor of three major U.S. drug distributors in a landmark lawsuit that accused them of causing a health crisis by distributing 81 million pills over eight years in one West Virginia county ravaged by opioid addiction. The verdict came nearly a year after closing […]
21 hours ago
Mynor Cardona and Ufemia Tomas, parents of Yenifer Yulisa Cardona Tomás, smile as they talk with h...
Associated Press

A migrant survivor of the trailer: ‘They couldn’t breathe’

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — The advice of a friend to stay near the door of a semi-trailer may have saved Yenifer Yulisa Cardona Tomás from the deadly end that 53 other migrants met when the truck was abandoned last week on the outskirts of San Antonio. Cardona Tomás, a 20-year-old from Guatemala’s capital, said in […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Army to immediately start discharging vaccine refusers