By MyBaseGuide Staff Member

Army COVID Vaccine Fallout Already in Effect

One month ago, the US Military made the announcement that service members could face discharge from the military for not receiving their COVID vaccine. Now, the US Army is officially executing on that announcement, as Army COVID vaccine discharges are already occurring. Army Directive 2022-02 officially went into effect on Jan. 31, 2022. The directive is clear about the Army COVID vaccine rules and requirements. “This Directive applies to all Soldiers of the Regular Army and Soldiers of the Army National Guard/Army National Guard of the United States and the U.S. Army Reserve when serving on active duty for more than 30 days… Individuals seeking accession into the Army and those Soldiers currently serving must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.” It also makes clear the punishment for refusing to follow the directive. “Effective immediately, commanders will initiate involuntary administrative separation proceedings for Soldiers who have refused the lawful order to be vaccinated against COVID-19.” Late in 2021, there were talks on the table to make vaccine-related discharges fall under the category of a dishonorable discharge, meaning that soldiers who refused a vaccine would be locked out of any potential Veteran’s benefits. That idea was put to rest less than a month after its proposal. Now, Soldiers are officially being let go (albeit honorably) due to their refusal to get the vaccine. The US Army Twitter page shared information about the separation initiation on Tuesday. [embed]https://twitter.com/USArmy/status/1488898251197722627?cxt=HHwWhsC5lcXE0KkpAAAA[/embed]

Can I Be Discharged for Not Getting the COVID Vaccine?

You may be discharged from Army service for refusing to get the COVID vaccine. However, certain individuals cannot be discharged if they fall under the status of exempt as outlined by the US Military. Getting granted an exemption is not easy, especially for the Army, and your cause needs to be legitimate and easily documented.

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Am I Exempt From Getting the Vaccine?

Exempt service members could include those who refuse for religious reasons, and some military members have already received such exemptions. Some medical exemptions are also available, such as for soldiers who are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions that would complicate the way the virus behaves. However, the Army isn’t being quite as lenient with its exemptions as other branches have been. As of Jan. 26, 2022, only six total Soldiers have received permanent exemptions from the vaccine, and all of these were medical exemptions. Many Soldiers are seeking religious exemption from the vaccine – nearly 3,000 service members in the Army have applied, with zero of them reaching success.

What Are the Current US Army COVID Vaccine Rates?

Army vaccines have been exceptionally high so far. You might be surprised at just how many service members have already been vaccinated. At the end of January, the US Army announced up-to-date statistics for soldiers who have received the vaccine. According to their data, 96% of active-duty Soldiers have fully completed their vaccine series, and 97% of active-duty Soldiers have partially completed their vaccine series. Army Reserve numbers are slightly lower, with only 79% having fully completed their vaccine series and 83% having partially completed their vaccines. We’ve already seen at least two commanders and nearly a dozen Army leaders who have been discharged as of today. In addition, over 3,000 reprimands have been issued to service members who refuse to fall in line with the Army COVID vaccine mandate, meaning we could start to see large numbers of Soldiers involuntarily leaving the service in the coming months.

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