The Army on Tuesday announced its plan to implement a mandatory coronavirus vaccine for soldiers, which was ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on August 24.
The Army’s Surgeon General Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle said in a statement:
This is quite literally a matter of life and death for our Soldiers, their families and the communities in which we live… Case counts and deaths continue to be concerning as the Delta variant spreads, which makes protecting the force through mandatory vaccination a health and readiness priority for the total Army.
The Army said soldiers who refuse the vaccine will first be counseled by their chain of command and medical providers, but “continued failure to comply” could result in administrative or non-judicial punishment, including relief of duties or distance.
The service said soldiers have the ability to request an exemption from receiving the vaccine, if they have a legitimate