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Army secretary says National Guard members who reject COVID-19 vaccination 'will be flagged,' not permitted 'continued service'

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Army Secretary Christine Wormuth has issued memo stating that National Guard troops who fail to comply with mandatory COVID-19 vaccination may not get renewed in the guard, according to the New York Times.

"I have determined that all soldiers who refuse the mandatory vaccination order will be flagged," she wrote, according to the outlet, which reported that such a move would block soldiers from securing promotions, awards, and bonuses.

In the event that soldiers keep on eschewing the shots, they will not be permitted "continued service" except if they obtain an approved vaccination exemption, Wormuth noted, according to the outlet.

Public and private sector vaccine mandates have become topics of intense debate around the U.S.

U.S. service members face a COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

"Mandatory vaccinations are familiar to all of our Service members, and mission-critical inoculation is almost as old as the U.S. military itself. Our administration of safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines has produced admirable results to date, and I know the Department of Defense will come together to finish the job, with urgency, professionalism, and compassion," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a memo earlier this year.

"I therefore direct the Secretaries of the Military Departments to immediately begin full vaccination of all members of the Armed Forces under DoD authority on active duty or in the Ready Reserve, including the National Guard, who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19," the memo states.

In the face of the Pentagon's vaccine mandate, members of the Oklahoma National Guard are not being required to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a release from the Oklahoma National Guard.

"Under Title 32, the Oklahoma National Guard is a state-controlled and federally-funded entity and takes orders from the Governor and his designated chain of command. When mobilized by the President, under Title 10, the Oklahoma National Guard takes all orders from the President and his designated chain of command," the release states. "Until a Guardsman is activated under Title 10, they follow the lawful commands of the Governor of the State of Oklahoma, who has not mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for Oklahoma Guard Members."

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