Army cuts pay, benefits from 57,000 unvaccinated National Guard, Reserves

Army pledges to keep encouraging service members to get the vaccine

Roughly 57,000 Army National Guardsmen and Army Reservists who have yet to get vaccinated against the coronavirus will be barred from their duties, effectively cutting their pay and benefits an Army official confirmed for Fox News Digital. 

"Beginning July 1, 2022, members of the Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve who have refused the lawful DOD COVID-19 vaccination order without an approved or pending exemption may not participate in federally funded drills and training and will not receive pay or retirement credit," the Army said in a July 1 release obtained by Fox News Digital.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks with U.S. troops on Friday, March 18, 2022, at an Army training range in Bulgaria. Austin was in Bulgaria to meet with U.S. troops and to consult with top Bulgarian government officials. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks with U.S. troops on Friday, March 18, 2022, at an Army training range in Bulgaria. Austin was in Bulgaria to meet with U.S. troops and to consult with top Bulgarian government officials.  (AP Photo/Robert Burns)

THOUSANDS OF ARMY NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS WHO HAVEN'T GOTTEN COVID-19 VACCINE COULD BE FORCED OUT

The announcement came one day after the June 30 deadline passed requiring soldiers in the Army National Guard to get the shots in their arms.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in November said that members of the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard who refused to get vaccinated would be barred from participating in trainings and their pay would be blocked.

Austin also warned that the continued refusal to get vaccinated could result in "separation" or expulsion from the service

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, in Washington. 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

ARMY NEARS 100% VACCINATION, CLAIMS ONLY 1% REFUSAL AMONG TROOPS

The move reportedly comes as servicemen prepare for annual summer trainings that help them hone their military skills and ensure they are ready should they need to be deployed. 

Though servicemen who remain dubious on the merits of the vaccine will feel the repercussions of disobeying a directive, Army officials said they will continue to work with soldiers to keep them in the service — whether through informing them on the benefits of the vaccine or in rare cases making sure they qualify for exemption status.

American soldiers and the U.S. flag are pictured. 

American soldiers and the U.S. flag are pictured.  (iStock)

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"We're going to give every soldier every opportunity to get vaccinated and continue their military career," Director of the Army Guard, Lt. Gen. Jon Jensen, said in a statement to Military.com. "We're not giving up on anybody until the separation paperwork is signed and completed."

Roughly 13 percent of the Army National Guard and 12 percent of Army Reservists remain unvaccinated — a margin that could prove detrimental to the ranks as the service struggles with low recruitment.