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A soldier receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The U.S. Army announced on Tuesday that troops could face discipline if they are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The big picture: The deadline for U.S. Army troops to be vaccinated is Dec. 15. 40% of Army troops had been fully vaccinated as of late August. National Guard units have until June 30 next year to meet the vaccination deadline.

What to expect: "While soldiers who refuse the vaccine will first be counseled by their chain of command and medical providers, continued failure to comply could result in administrative or non-judicial punishment — to include relief of duties or discharge," per an Army statement.

What they're saying: Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the U.S. Army surgeon general, said in a statement that the Army introduced the measure as coronavirus case "counts and deaths continue to be concerning as the Delta variant spreads."

Go deeper

Deadlines for troops to be vaccinated against COVID announced

Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The four U.S. military branches have set deadlines for when service members need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's announcement last month that the Pentagon is mandating the shot for troops.

Driving the news: The U.S. Army has imposed a Dec. 15 deadline for all active-duty service members and a June 30 deadline for National Guard service members, the Army said in a press release Tuesday.

The Exvangelicals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Even as evangelicals maintain their position as the most popular religion in the U.S., a movement of self-described "exvangelicals" is breaking away, using social media to engage tens of thousands of former faithful.

The big picture: Donald Trump's presidency, as well as movements around LGBTQ rights, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, drew more Americans into evangelical churches while also pushing some existing members away.

Updated 7 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.