DOD: Unvaccinated soldiers could be discharged

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The U.S. Department of Defense mandated in September that all military service members get vaccinated against COVID-19. The DOD says without a vaccine or approved exemption, soldiers can be discharged from the military.

The Kentucky National Guard says all unvaccinated soldiers will be given an opportunity to apply for a medical or religious exemption, but the Guard is unsure when word on these exemptions will come back. Veterans Club Inc. says soldiers discharged over the vaccine mandate will still be eligible for VA benefits, but that doesn’t eliminate all concerns for those impacted.

“One of the things we work on here is military transition,” says Jeremy Harrell, founder and CEO of Veterans Club Inc. “That’s one of the hardest things for our military and it’s not just as far as getting jobs and getting acclimated to the civilian world, but mental health as well.”

At this time, the Kentucky National Guard says no guardsmen have been discharged, but that it will be following DOD guidelines as it supports the vaccine.

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