Up to 40,000 Army National Guard troops—roughly 13% of the force—could soon be fired for not getting the mandated COVID-19 vaccine, which has limited efficacy against Omicron, doesn’t stop transmission, has been linked to elevated heart problems, and has been mandated for a healthy demographic that rarely dies of the disease.
Guard soldiers have until Thursday (June 30) to receive the injection, according to the Associated Press, which notes that 20-30% of troops in six states remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.
“We’re going to give every soldier every opportunity to get vaccinated and continue their military career. Every soldier that is pending an exemption, we will continue to support them through their process,” Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, director of the Army National Guard, told AP. “We’re not giving up on anybody until the separation paperwork is signed and completed. There’s still time.”
According to the report, at least seven governors have asked Austin to reconsider or drop the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for National Guard members—with some having filed or joined lawsuits to that end.