Army begins discharging soldiers who refuse COVID vaccine
The U.S. Army announced on Wednesday that it will begin discharging soldiers who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Why it matters: The order marks a significant step in enforcing the COVID vaccine requirement for military members.
Driving the news: "Unvaccinated Soldiers present risk to the force and jeopardize readiness," Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said in a statement.
- "We will begin involuntary separation proceedings for Soldiers who refuse the vaccine order and are not pending a final decision on an exemption," Wormuth said.
- The order applies to every regular Army soldier, active-duty reservist and cadet who does not have an approved or pending exemption request.
- "Service members separated due to refusal of the COVID-19 vaccination order will not be eligible for involuntary separation pay," per the order.
The big picture: As of Jan. 26, the Army said it has discharged two battalion commanders and issued 3,073 general officer written reprimands to soldiers for refusing to get the vaccine.