Army nears 100% vaccination, claims only 1% refusal among troops

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The U.S. Army reports that it nears a 100% COVID-19 vaccination rate among troops, claiming the service has faced pushback from 3,411 general officers. 

The active forces have recorded a 97% completion of vaccination regimen, with that number to hit 98% after additional troops complete their current booster regimen. 

The Pentagon in Aug. 2021 issued a vaccine mandate for the armed forces, with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordering each branch to fully vaccinate active duty, Guard and Reserve troops. Troops in various military branches had months to comply with the order, with each branch setting its own deadline to complete the regimen. 

The Army set its deadline for Dec. 15, 2021 by which point soldiers needed to have started a vaccination regimen or applied for an exemption. The Army has set a final deadline of June 30, 2022 to complete all components, including booster shots. 

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Army officials claimed the service only had to separate 669 soldiers out of the 3,411 official reprimands for refusing vaccine mandate, marking minimal pushback, but numbers provided to Fox News Digital by the Army show that 4,365 troops requested religious exemptions and 729 troops requested medical exemptions. 

Only 22 troops received medical exemptions and only 8 received religious exemptions, with about 3,000 further exemptions pending approval. 

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The numbers only rose by 1% between March and May, but with almost all active-duty troops vaccinated, the number is not likely to move much more going forward. 

Those numbers only account for active-duty members. The Army is no longer releasing numbers for the Army Reserve or National Guard refusals and exemptions. 

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Various state National Guards have pushed back against the orders, creating a tense standoff. Officials attempted to further pressure the troops by withholding their pay and barring them from training. 

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