The United States Army announced last week that it would immediately begin separating soldiers from the service who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Last week, the military announced they’re beginning immediate involuntary discharges for vaccine refusers. The army’s announcement makes them the last military branch to hand out dismissal papers to their troops.
“Army readiness depends on soldiers who are prepared to train, deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars. Unvaccinated soldiers present a 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,” says Christine Wormuth, the secretary of the Army.
Approximately 97% of Army troops have gotten at least the initial dose of the vaccine. However, according to the army’s data, more than 3,300 soldiers refuse to get vaccinated. Those soldiers received a written statement saying they’re already included in the disciplinary process and will be in the first batch of discharges.
The official order includes active soldiers, reserves serving on active duty, and cadets at the Military Academy, West Point. Service members included in this order will not receive involuntary separation pay.
Also, there’s a chance the members will have to pay back any incentive bonuses or special compensation received. Those troops that are released will be discharged for misconduct. However, if any soldiers are eligible for retirement, they will be allowed to do so before July 1st.
Last August, the Pentagon announced a vaccine mandate for all service members. The army gave their troops until December 15, 2021, to get the vaccine or file for an exemption.