Local News | Sept. 17, 2021

6 Things to Know about the Army's New Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Policy

On September 14, 2021, the Army announced its plan to comply with the Secretary of Defense’s order requiring all Service members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Army has made COVID-19 vaccines part of our normal medical readiness requirements and began mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations of Soldiers using the FDA approved Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine.

This is a readiness, health and welfare priority for the total Army.

Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, Surgeon General of the Army, receives his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

1 - "This is quite literally a matter of life and death..."

In a news release, Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle — U.S. Army Surgeon General — reiterated that the rise of the highly transmissible Delta variant has significantly increased risk to our Soldiers and the Army mission.

Vaccination helps prevent transmission to others and provides individuals with protection from severe illness, hospitalization and death.

Gen. James C. McConville, Chief of Staff of the Army, receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Spc. Tyler Boyer, a Hayden, Colorado native and medical specialist assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th  Infantry Division, administers the COVID-19 vaccine at Fort Carson, Colorado Aug 3, 2021. The 4th Inf. Div. remains committed to keeping the Fort Carson community safe and healthy by offering mobile vaccinations centers.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

2 - This policy applies to all Soldiers, regardless of rank

Commanders, command sergeants major, first sergeants and officers in Command Select List positions who do not have an approved exemption and are not pending an exemption request will be suspended from command, notified of pending relief from duties, counseled, and provided the opportunity to be vaccinated before they are subject to being removed from their positions by a general officer.

Officers and noncommissioned officers senior enlisted Soldiers who have been selected and are waiting to assume CSL command, key billet or nominative sergeant major positions will likewise be subject to removal from the list for those assignments should they refuse to be vaccinated without a pending or approved exemption.

Army Cpl. Jonathan Leon Camacho, a practical nursing specialist with Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, Ga, injects an Army Reserve Soldier from the 447th Military Police Company with the COVID-19 vaccination, Aug 21, 2021, at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center (CSJFTC), Miss. The mobilized soldiers based out of North Canton, Ohio, are at CSJFTC training for an upcoming deployment.(Arizona Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian A. Barbour)

3 - Deadlines for vaccination

Active duty Army units are expected to be fully vaccinated by December 15, 2021.

Reserve and National Guard units are expected to be fully vaccinated by June 30, 2022.

Spc. Dorien Lewis, a combat medic with Division Sustainment Troops Battalion MEDOPS, 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to a U.S. Army Soldier at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Aug. 17. Medics across Camp Arifjan, held a COVID-19 vaccine drive for personnel that are not fully vaccinated. (U.S. Army photo Sgt. Marquis Hopkins)

4 - Refusal, without an exemption, will have consequences

While soldiers who refuse the vaccine will first be counseled by their chain of command and medical providers, continued failure to comply could result in administrative or non-judicial punishment — to include relief of duties or discharge.

Soldiers have the ability to request an exemption from receiving the vaccine, if they have a valid medical, religious or administrative reason. Exemptions may be requested as outlined in Army Regulation 600-20AR 40-562 as well as the new Army Directive 2021-33 that provides supplementary guidance on exemption requests.

Soldiers who are pending exemption requests will not be subject to adverse actions until the exemption is fully processed.

U.S. Army Cpl. Christian Simmons and Cpl. Tadow McDonald, assigned to 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera), 21st Signal Brigade, wear facemasks while standing in front of their unit’s headquarters on Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, Aug. 3, 2021. Per the guidance in a DoD memorandum released on July 28, 2021, areas of substantial or high community transmission requires service members, federal employees, on-site contractor employees and visitors, regardless of their vaccination status, to wear a mask in an indoor setting and other facilities owned or leased by the DoD. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Henry Villarama)

5 - Masking guidance will remain in place

In areas of substantial or high community transmission, all service members, federal employees, onsite contractor employees and visitors — regardless of vaccination status — are required to wear masks in indoor setting on installations and other facilities owned, leased or otherwise controlled by DoD.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible, regardless of community transmission level.

Staff Sgt. Brenda Collins, medical specialist, from Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center administers the COVID-19 vaccination to a patient during the phase one process Dec.15, 2020 at on Fort Hood, Texas. Distribution of the vaccine will be conducted in phases based on CDC guidance. The vaccine is stored and distributed under various controls to ensure the safety of the recipient.

6 - Qualifications for fully vaccinated status

Soldiers are only considered fully vaccinated two weeks post completion of a two­-dose series vaccine or two weeks post completion of a single dose vaccine.

Soldiers with previous COVID-19 infections are not automatically exempt from full vaccination.

Service members may choose to voluntarily receive any FDA EUA authorized or World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing vaccine to meet the vaccination requirement.

Soldiers who have completed an FDA EUA or WHO authorized series are considered fully vaccinated and not required to start the series again with the FDA approved vaccine.

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Local News

 

 

Local News | Sept. 17, 2021

6 Things to Know about the Army's New Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Policy

On September 14, 2021, the Army announced its plan to comply with the Secretary of Defense’s order requiring all Service members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Army has made COVID-19 vaccines part of our normal medical readiness requirements and began mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations of Soldiers using the FDA approved Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine.

This is a readiness, health and welfare priority for the total Army.

Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, Surgeon General of the Army, receives his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

1 - "This is quite literally a matter of life and death..."

In a news release, Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle — U.S. Army Surgeon General — reiterated that the rise of the highly transmissible Delta variant has significantly increased risk to our Soldiers and the Army mission.

Vaccination helps prevent transmission to others and provides individuals with protection from severe illness, hospitalization and death.

Gen. James C. McConville, Chief of Staff of the Army, receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Spc. Tyler Boyer, a Hayden, Colorado native and medical specialist assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th  Infantry Division, administers the COVID-19 vaccine at Fort Carson, Colorado Aug 3, 2021. The 4th Inf. Div. remains committed to keeping the Fort Carson community safe and healthy by offering mobile vaccinations centers.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

2 - This policy applies to all Soldiers, regardless of rank

Commanders, command sergeants major, first sergeants and officers in Command Select List positions who do not have an approved exemption and are not pending an exemption request will be suspended from command, notified of pending relief from duties, counseled, and provided the opportunity to be vaccinated before they are subject to being removed from their positions by a general officer.

Officers and noncommissioned officers senior enlisted Soldiers who have been selected and are waiting to assume CSL command, key billet or nominative sergeant major positions will likewise be subject to removal from the list for those assignments should they refuse to be vaccinated without a pending or approved exemption.

Army Cpl. Jonathan Leon Camacho, a practical nursing specialist with Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, Ga, injects an Army Reserve Soldier from the 447th Military Police Company with the COVID-19 vaccination, Aug 21, 2021, at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center (CSJFTC), Miss. The mobilized soldiers based out of North Canton, Ohio, are at CSJFTC training for an upcoming deployment.(Arizona Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian A. Barbour)

3 - Deadlines for vaccination

Active duty Army units are expected to be fully vaccinated by December 15, 2021.

Reserve and National Guard units are expected to be fully vaccinated by June 30, 2022.

Spc. Dorien Lewis, a combat medic with Division Sustainment Troops Battalion MEDOPS, 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to a U.S. Army Soldier at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Aug. 17. Medics across Camp Arifjan, held a COVID-19 vaccine drive for personnel that are not fully vaccinated. (U.S. Army photo Sgt. Marquis Hopkins)

4 - Refusal, without an exemption, will have consequences

While soldiers who refuse the vaccine will first be counseled by their chain of command and medical providers, continued failure to comply could result in administrative or non-judicial punishment — to include relief of duties or discharge.

Soldiers have the ability to request an exemption from receiving the vaccine, if they have a valid medical, religious or administrative reason. Exemptions may be requested as outlined in Army Regulation 600-20AR 40-562 as well as the new Army Directive 2021-33 that provides supplementary guidance on exemption requests.

Soldiers who are pending exemption requests will not be subject to adverse actions until the exemption is fully processed.

U.S. Army Cpl. Christian Simmons and Cpl. Tadow McDonald, assigned to 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera), 21st Signal Brigade, wear facemasks while standing in front of their unit’s headquarters on Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, Aug. 3, 2021. Per the guidance in a DoD memorandum released on July 28, 2021, areas of substantial or high community transmission requires service members, federal employees, on-site contractor employees and visitors, regardless of their vaccination status, to wear a mask in an indoor setting and other facilities owned or leased by the DoD. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Henry Villarama)

5 - Masking guidance will remain in place

In areas of substantial or high community transmission, all service members, federal employees, onsite contractor employees and visitors — regardless of vaccination status — are required to wear masks in indoor setting on installations and other facilities owned, leased or otherwise controlled by DoD.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible, regardless of community transmission level.

Staff Sgt. Brenda Collins, medical specialist, from Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center administers the COVID-19 vaccination to a patient during the phase one process Dec.15, 2020 at on Fort Hood, Texas. Distribution of the vaccine will be conducted in phases based on CDC guidance. The vaccine is stored and distributed under various controls to ensure the safety of the recipient.

6 - Qualifications for fully vaccinated status

Soldiers are only considered fully vaccinated two weeks post completion of a two­-dose series vaccine or two weeks post completion of a single dose vaccine.

Soldiers with previous COVID-19 infections are not automatically exempt from full vaccination.

Service members may choose to voluntarily receive any FDA EUA authorized or World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing vaccine to meet the vaccination requirement.

Soldiers who have completed an FDA EUA or WHO authorized series are considered fully vaccinated and not required to start the series again with the FDA approved vaccine.

Learn More about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 Vaccine.