US Army will begin discharging Covid-19 vaccine refusers ‘effective immediately’

Directive requires commanders to ‘initiate involuntary administrative separation proceedings for Soldiers who have refused the lawful order to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and who do not have a pending or approved exemption request’

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Wednesday 02 February 2022 22:14
Comments
Leer en Español

The United States Army will “immediately” begin taking steps to discharge soldiers who’ve refused orders to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and lack a valid or pending exemption.

A 2 February directive from Army Secretary Christine Wormuth now requires commanding officers to begin the process of separating vaccine refusers from the service “effective immediately,” and further requires that the separation process be completed “as expeditiously as possible”.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered all US service members to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in a 25 August memorandum directing the Army, Navy and Air Force secretaries “to immediately begin full vaccination of all members of the Armed Forces under DoD authority on active duty or in the Ready Reserve, including the National Guard”.

In a statement, Ms Wormuth said the US Army’s readiness “depends on Soldiers who are prepared to train, deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars”.

“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,” she added.

The secretary’s directive states that any soldier discharged under the mandatory vaccination policy will be granted an honourable discharge or a general discharge under honourable conditions.

It applies to regular active-duty soldiers, reservists serving on active duty for more than 30 days, cadets at the US Military Academy or the academy’s preparatory school, and undergraduate students who are part of the Senior Reserve Officers Training Corps programme who’ve received “a lawful order to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19,” have had “a reasonable opportunity” to be vaccinated, have “made a final declination of immunization” and does not have “an approved or pending medical or administrative exemption,” a category which includes religious exemptions.

The Army is the last of the five US armed services to begin discharging unvaccinated soldiers. The US Air Force, Space Force, Navy and Marine Corps began discharging airmen, guardians, sailors, marines who had refused orders to be vaccinated.

At the time, Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby said the overall impact of the discharges on the armed services was not yet quantifiable.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in