Pentagon Ends Vax Mandate, Unclear How Many Punished, Force To Quit

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At a glance

  • The Defense Department will no longer require service members to get vaccinated for COVID-19, according to a memo signed Tuesday by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
  • Congressional Republicans pushed back against the mandate, as thousands of troops were discharged for refusing vaccination, arguing that the separations were harming readiness and possibly hurting recruiting.
  • Some lawmakers requested the Pentagon reinstate, with backpay, any troops involuntarily discharged over their vaccination refusal.

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