Members of the United States Armed Forces who refuse to get the Covid-19 vaccine will soon be forced out of the service.
According to a November 16th memo signed by Secretary of the Army, Christine Wormuth, the service records of active-duty troops and reservists will be flagged on the day they refuse the jab, which follows a meeting with a medical professional and a second order to get vaccinated.
The mark will prevent soldiers from re-enlisting, being promoted, receiving future enlistment bonuses, attending service-related schools or receiving tuition assistance.
“I authorize commanders to impose bars to continued service for all soldiers who refuse the mandatory vaccine order without an approved exemption or pending exemption request,” wrote Wormuth. “The soldiers will remain flagged until they are fully vaccinated, receive an approved medical or administrative exemption, or are separated from the Army.”
This order also applies to National Guard Troops, including those serving in states whose governors do not require the vaccine. It essentially means that the mark on their records will end their career in the military.
Wormuth’s order is the culmination of a directive from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on August 25th that ordered all branches of the military to ensure that service members get fully vaccinated soon.
“To defend this nation, we need a healthy and ready force,” wrote Austin in the August memo. “After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the president, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people.”
On Wednesday 17th November, the Department of Defense (DOD) reiterated Austin’s and the administration’s stance on vaccine mandates for the military. A spokesperson for the department said that the secretary has the authority “to establish a medical readiness requirement that applies to members of the National Guard,” adding that failure to meet this requirement “could jeopardise their status in the National Guard.”
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