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Nearly 40,000 Army Guard Troops Still Unvaccinated for COVID As Shots Deadline Passes

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Nearly 40,000 troops in the Army National Guard were still unvaccinated against the coronavirus as the deadline passed for them to receive the shots or face being discharged from the service as mandated by the Defense Department.

The deadline, which was Thursday, primarily affects the Army National Guard. The Air Force required Air National Guard members to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 2. Approximately 11.4% of the roughly 336,000 Army National Guard troops — or more than 38,000 members — had not received a dose of the shot as of Monday, according to the National Guard.

The federal government will not pay unvaccinated Guard members starting Friday, the Pentagon has said. That means they won’t be paid when activated under federal status, which includes monthly drill weekends. Unvaccinated Guard members will also not be allowed to participate in federal missions, such as certain assignments to the U.S.-Mexico border.

However, troops might be eligible for pay while performing duties under their state assignments, depending on the state. The governors of Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Nebraska have formally asked the Pentagon not to enforce the mandate for Guard members, with some of them filing lawsuits.

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