A member of the National Guard prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena drive-thru facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. The Louisiana Department of Health WASHINGTON (AP) - Up to 40,000 Army National Guard soldiers across the country — or about 13% of the force — have not yet gotten the mandated COVID-19 vaccine, and as the deadline for shots looms, at least 14,000 of them have flatly refused and could be forced out of the service.Guard soldiers have until Thursday to get the vaccine.
According to data obtained by The Associated Press, between 20% to 30% of the Guard soldiers in six states are not vaccinated, and more than 10% in 43 other states still need shots.Guard leaders say states are doing all they can to encourage soldiers to get vaccinated by the time limit. And they said they will work with the roughly 7,000 who have sought exemptions, which are almost all for religious reasons.RELATED: Biden welcomes Wounded Warriors to White House, praises members as 'spine of America'"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," said Lt.
Gen. Jon Jensen, director of the Army National Guard, in an Associated Press interview. "We’re not giving up on anybody until the separation paperwork is signed and completed.
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