The Army Reserve and National Guard are barring members who refused the COVID-19 vaccination from participating in federal training, which will result in the loss of future paychecks.
The deadline for members to receive the COVID vaccine or file a legitimate exemption passed on Thursday, and according to the Army, 40,000 active reservists and National Guardsmen have not received the vaccine. They will not be allowed to participate in federal weekend training drills, which will result in them forfeiting pay for those weekends. They may still collect paychecks when serving on missions assigned to them by state governors.
Army and Guard officials are hopeful the loss of some pay might persuade some of the unvaccinated members to receive the COVID-19 shot, and once they do they will be allowed to participate in federal training again. According to CBS News, of the 40,000 unvaxxed members, 14,000 of them say they will never receive the vaccine.
“Army readiness depends on Soldiers who are prepared to train, deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars,” Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth wrote. “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.”
The Army reported it began relieving some individuals from their positions for refusing the vaccine in January. “As of Jan. 26, Army commanders have relieved a total of six regular Army leaders, including two battalion commanders, and issued 3,073 general officer written reprimands to Soldiers for refusing the vaccination order,” an online update reported.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES
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