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Thousands of Army National Guard soldiers who have not obtained the COVID-19 vaccine may be expelled

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Up to 40,000Army National Guards nationwide– about 13% of the army – do not have the required COVID-19 vaccine, at least the deadline for firing is approaching. increase. 14,000 of them may categorically refuse and force a service outage.

Guards must be vaccinated until Thursday. According to data obtained by the Associated Press, 20% to 30% of security guards in the six states have not been vaccinated, and more than 10% in the other 43 states still need injections.

Security leaders say the state is doing everything it can to encourage soldiers to be vaccinated by the deadline. And they said they would work with about 7,000 people, almost all seeking exemptions for religious reasons.

"We give all soldiers the opportunity to be vaccinated and continue their military careerAll soldiers pending exemptions through their process We will continue to support them, "said Lieutenant General John Jensen, an Army National Guard, in an interview with AP News. "No one will give up until the separation documents are signed and completed. We still have time."

The Army is approaching 100% vaccination and the sergeant's Only 1% refusal in between

Mississippi Army National Guard Sgt. Chase Toussaint, right, and Staff Sgt. Matthew Riley, both with the Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site of Camp Shelby, fill 5-gallon buckets in March 2021 at a Jackson water distribution site. 

Mississippi Army National Guard Sergeant Chase Tusan, Right, and Staff Sergeant. Matthew Reilly, both at Camp Shelby's pilot area training equipment site, will fill a five-gallon bucket at the Jackson water distribution site in March 2021.  (AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis, file)

Last year, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austinordered all military personnel. – Active missions, Secretary of Defense and Reserve – Obtaining vaccines is important for maintaining military health and readiness. The deadlines for military service varied, and the Army National Guard was given the longest time to shoot, mainly because it was a large army of about 330,000 soldiers scattered throughout the country, many in remote areas.

The Army Guard has the lowest vaccine percentage in the US Army, with more than 97% of all active Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, and about 94% of the Air Force Guard. The Army reported on Friday that 90% of the Army Reserve was partially or completely vaccinated.

The Pentagon said that after June 30, if unvaccinated guards were activated in federal status, including a monthly training weekend and a two-week annual training period, the federal government He states that he will not receive payment from the government. Guards mobilized in federal status and assigned to COVID-19 missions on the southern border or in various states also need to be vaccinated. Otherwise, you will not be allowed to participate or pay.

However, for greater complexity, guards on state activation missions may not need to be vaccinated according to state requirements. As long as they are in state obligations, they are paid by the state and can be used for state missions.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his wife Fran talk with specialist Emily Milosevic as they tour the Defense Supply Center in Columbus, Ohio, in January 2022.

Ohio Governor Mike Dewine and his wife Fran Is a specialist, Emily Milosevic, touring the Defense Supply Center in Columbus, Ohio in January 2022.(AP Photo / Paul Vernon, File)

Review or enforce vaccination obligations for members of the National Guard to at least seven Governor Austin Formally requested not to, some filed proceedings or signed. In a letter to the Governor, Austin declined, saying that the coronavirus "temporarily or permanently frees our military personnel from battle and jeopardizes our ability to meet mission requirements." He said the guards would need to be vaccinated or lose their guard status.

Jensen, Maj. Gen. Jill Farris, and Joint Surgeon Chief of Security Forces are working with the State's Deputy General to keep up-to-date with progress, including about 20,000 uneven troops. Said. I have refused and have not submitted any kind of exemption request. They said that some were just late in self-assessment, while others were undecided.

"Some of those undefined are our soldiers who say,'Well, I have until June 30th, so I'll take it until June 30th,'" Jensen says. I did.

Others may have promised to bring in the vaccine paperwork, but haven't done so yet. Yet others are in the book, but haven't reported on basic training yet, so they don't have to be vaccinated until they get there. It's not clear how many are in each category.

Jensen is concerned that if the current number is maintained, it could affect the state's security readiness, including whether it will affect units preparing for deployment. I admitted that I was doing it.

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Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Andrew Bates pulls up tape marking a line at a coronavirus mass-vaccination site at the former Citizens Bank headquarters in Cranston, Rhode Island, on June 10, 2021.

Army National Guard staff Sgt. Andrew Bates pulls up a line-marking tape at the coronavirus mass vaccination site at the former Citizens Bank headquarters in Cranston, Rhode Island, on June 10, 2021.(AP Photo / David Goldman)

"When you are looking, 40,000 soldiers potentially in that unvaccinated category, There are absolutely implications and concerns for the preparation associated with it, "Jensen said. "It's an important mass."

Overall, according to the data obtained by AP, about 85% of all Army National Guard are fully vaccinated. Authorities said 87% were at least partially vaccinated, counting one vaccine.

Nationwide, except in one case, guards are vaccinated at a higher rate than the general population in the state. As of the beginning of this month, when data was collected, the proportion of vaccinated Guard solder was slightly lower than the total population of the state only in New Jersey.

All three US territories (Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico) and the District of Columbia are fully vaccinated with more thansoldiersThe highest percentage is Hawaii, Almost 97%, but the lowest is Oklahoma, just under 70%.

State security leaders carried out special shooting programs and provided their troops with as much information as possible to keep them working.

In Tennessee, they set up small teams in the east, west, and central regions to hold monthly events to provide vaccines to troops in need of vaccines. And every Wednesday, guards were able to book shots in central Tennessee in Smyrna. In addition, in early June they called on all soldiers who had ever refused the vaccine.

"We held a large, large-scale event," said Army National Guard Colonel Keith Evans. "There were all healthcare providers here, so if there were any questions, misunderstandings, or misinformation that needed to be resolved, we could get all the data and provide all the information."

Evans, commander of the Army National Guard's medical readiness command, also has recruitment and other leaders who can explain what happens if a soldier chooses not to be shot and leaves the guard. He said he was there.

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"They wanted to be soldiers who spent their time and served their country, so to let them know what benefits they had," Evans said.

Officials say they believe the information campaign is working. Approximately 1,500 soldiers nationwide move into the vaccination category each week, Jensen said. “We expect to see even greater growth as we approach the deadline.”