All active-duty soldiers must be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 by Dec. 15. Reserve-component soldiers must receive the inoculations by next June 30.
The Army specified the dates in a memorandum outlining the plan to implement Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin’s mandatory-vaccination order of Aug. 24.
The order did specify that soldiers can seek administrative or medical exemptions from the vaccination.
Soldiers who refuse vaccinations could face administrative or non-judicial punishment, to include relief from duty and possible discharge. Commanders, command sergeants major, first sergeants and officers on the Command Select List who refuse vaccination will face suspension or be relieved of duty. The same applies to officers and non-commissioned officers who have been selected for or are awaiting Command Select List billets or have been nominated to become sergeants major.
Soldiers who previously contracted Covid-19 are not automatically exempt. Those who seek exemptions still must comply with all measures in place for non-vaccinated people.
“This is quite literally a matter of life and death for our soldiers, their families and the communities in which we live,” said Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the Army surgeon general. “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.”