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The Pentagon is preparing to hand down harsh punishments to civilian employees who do not comply with the executive mandate that government workers get their coronavirus vaccine.
A memo released by the Defense Department states that civilians will ultimately be fired from their jobs if they are not fully vaccinated. DoD wants all of its civilians to get the shot and go through the required waiting period for antibodies to flourish by Nov. 22.
Defense contractors who work on military installations must either be vaccinated or show up to their worksite with a negative COVID test and will be subject to screening at least weekly.
The same goes with visitors to military bases and DoD buildings. If not vaccinated, those people must show up with a negative test from the last 72 hours, or be subject to onsite testing if available. If the testing is not available, they will be denied entry. The order does not apply to those who are visiting facilities on an “ad hoc” basis, like taxi drivers or delivery personnel.
DoD civilians who refuse to get the shot will go through “progressive enforcement actions,” the first of which is a five-day counseling and education period.
If an employee is still recalcitrant, they will be suspended without pay for less than 14 days. If the refusal continues, DoD will then terminate the employee for “failing to follow a direct order.”
The memo states that DoD will designate officials to handle the disciplinary process and “ensure consistent application of disciplinary measures.”
There are some exceptions to the rule. DoD will provide waivers to those who cannot get the vaccine due to medical conditions or for religious reasons. Further guidance will be available soon on the exceptions and DoD is currently not taking any action on exemption requests.
The punishments for civilians refusing to get vaccinated comes shortly after the military started handing down punishments for service members who refused to get the shot. The military services have varying dates for when troops need to be fully vaccinated. So far, those who are not getting the vaccine seem to be few and far between.
The Navy already said it will separate sailors who refuse to get the shot.
“Tragically, there have been 164 deaths within the Navy family due to COVID-19, far exceeding the combined total of all other health or mishap related injuries and deaths over the same time period,” Vice Adm. John Nowell, chief of naval personnel, said in the Navy orders. Almost all of those deaths were from people who were unvaccinated. There are 20 of those people whose vaccination status was not known.
The Air Force is already sending out reprimands and taking action to separate airmen who are not complying with orders.
The Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook group posted a reprimand issued from the 319th Reconnaissance Wing at Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The letter, dated Oct. 3, states the airman failed to obey a lawful order.
“You failed to follow a direct order by a superior commissioned officer and by doing so have placed yourself and your fellow airmen in danger,” the reprimand reads. “I can no longer trust you to obey orders that will execute our mission. You have shown you are not committed to maintaining readiness for the Department of the Air Force.”
The reprimand directs the airman to complete a virtual or in-person transition assistance program workshop and obtain a separation history and physical examination in 14 days.
“Your conduct is unacceptable and further deviation or failure to comply may result in more severe action,” the letter reads.