The Army will immediately begin discharging soldiers who have refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to USA Today and CNN.
The networks report that a directive issued by Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth tells commanders to start "involuntary administrative separation proceedings" for those who do not have an approved or pending exemption request to the vaccine mandate.
"Army readiness depends on Soldiers who are prepared to train, deploy, fight and win our nation's wars," Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said in a statement. "Unvaccinated Soldiers present risk to the force and jeopardize readiness. We will begin involuntary separation proceedings for Soldiers who refuse the vaccine order and are not pending a final decision on an exemption."
In August, upon the full FDA approval of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, Sec. of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered all military personnel to be vaccinated against the virus.
In September, the Army ordered all active-duty members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 15. At the time, the Army said it would consider exemptions on "medical, religious, or administrative grounds."
According to CNN, the Army's Wednesday statement noted that six leaders had been relieved for their refusal to be vaccinated. About 3,000 reprimands have been written to soldiers who have not yet gotten the shots.
Prior to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the Department of Defense already required military members to be vaccinated against some diseases upon arrival at basic training and prior to deployment, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Military members routinely get vaccines to prevent "tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, hepatitis A and B, varicella or chickenpox, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and meningococcal," and troops stationed around the world receive other vaccines depending on the area in which they are serving.