The US Army has threatened repercussions for soldiers who decline to receive Covid-19 vaccinations, saying that insubordinate troops will be barred from promotions, reenlistment, and a number of special military services.
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Army personnel who refuse the jab, including reservists and Army National Guard troops, will now have their service records “flagged,” preventing them from receiving “favorable personnel actions” such as reenlistment bonuses, promotions to higher ranks, decorations and other awards, attending military academies, as well as tuition assistance with higher education, according to an official memo obtained by DefenseOne on Thursday.
“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,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth wrote in the document, dated November 16.
“The soldier will remain flagged until they are fully vaccinated, receive an approved medical or administrative exemption, or are separated from the army.”
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said he was informed by some members of the U.S. military that they would quit if the armed forces mandated a COVID-19 vaccine, coming after a report claimed that Army headquarters told commanders to prepare for mandatory vaccinations in September.
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Though the majority of soldiers, sailors and airmen across all US military services are now immunized, some branches continue to see hold-outs, with nearly 8,500 Air Force personnel missing a vaccination deadline earlier this month as thousands seek religious exemptions.
The Marine Corps, meanwhile, announced on Thursday that it has no plans to immediately expel troops who miss a November 28 deadline.
Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, whose branch oversees the Marines, said unvaccinated devil dogs would be treated “in a very respectful manner” and evaluated on a “case-by-case basis” – despite a previous memo warning that uncooperative soldiers would be outright booted from the service.
The new army directive comes amid a battle between the Defense Department and the Oklahoma National Guard over the military-wide vaccine mandate.
Earlier this week, the commander of the state’s Guard unit, Thomas Mancino, told his troops they would face “no negative administrative or legal action” if they refused the shot, prompting a terse response from the Pentagon, which insisted the mandate is a “lawful order.”
Though Guard soldiers are largely under the control of state governments, the branch is still part of the broader national military apparatus and receives a significant amount of federal funding.
As reported by GreatGameIndia earlier, according to a Pentagon report almost 75% of US troops refused taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Addressing the allegation of a cover-up, the spokesperson for the agency, John Kirby informed the news outlets about the reason for the lack of exact data.
According to a survey more than half of Americans do not want COVID-19 vaccine.
The study has also looked into the concerns among people reluctant to receive the jabs, with 68 per cent of people saying they are worried about the long term effects of the vaccines.