The U.S. Army announced on Feb. 2 that it will immediately start discharging, or “separating,” soldiers who have refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Wormuth added that the service “will begin involuntary separation proceedings for Soldiers who refuse the vaccine order and are not pending a final decision on an exemption.”
Army soldiers who are discharged because they’ve refused the COVID-19 vaccine won’t be eligible for involuntary separation pay. They also might be “subject to recoupment of any unearned special or incentive pay,” the Army stated.
Other branches of the U.S. armed forces have begun to remove those who have chosen not to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine.
“The Army has not yet involuntarily separated any Soldiers solely for refusing the lawful order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” the statement continued. “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.”
Officers and warrant officers who have refused the vaccine have until March to get it, according to the directive.
“All soldiers, including those in an entry-level status, who are refusing to become vaccinated will be issued either an Honorable or General (under honorable conditions)” discharge, the Army order added, although it stated that troops with “additional misconduct” might not receive an honorable discharge.
The vast majority of all active-duty troops have received at least one dose, according to data provided by the government. About 79 uniformed military personnel across the different U.S. armed services have died from COVID-19.