The defense department says Oklahoma National Guard must get vaccinated.

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Politics|The defence section says Oklahoma National Guard indispensable get vaccinated.

Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma successful  February. Earlier this period  Mr. Stitt asked that guardsmen successful  the authorities   not beryllium  required to get   vaccinated.
Credit...Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Jennifer Steinhauer

  • Nov. 29, 2021, 6:53 p.m. ET

Lloyd J. Austin III, the caput of defense, sent a missive Monday to Gov. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma rejecting his petition to exempt the state’s National Guard troops from an bid for the full unit to beryllium vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The letter, which was wide expected, sets the signifier for troops successful the authorities to suffer their jobs should they refuse.

“One could elite not to instrumentality the vaccine, of course,” John Kirby, a spokesperson for Mr. Austin, said connected Monday, “but past you would beryllium putting astatine jeopardy your quality to enactment successful the National Guard.”

Earlier this month, the newly appointed head of the National Guard successful Oklahoma said that troops would not beryllium required to get vaccinated. The argumentation defies a Pentagon directive that makes vaccination mandatory for each troops, including the National Guard, by deadlines acceptable by each work branch.

Mr. Kirby said that Guardmembers who garbage to get the shots volition beryllium “denied grooming opportunities,” and perchance “that would past pb to nary longer being capable to service successful the National Guard.” Guard troops are nether the authorization of the politician unless federally deployed, but Pentagon officials importune that does not obviate the national vaccine requirement.

In Oklahoma, 89 percent of airmen successful the Guard person been vaccinated, portion lone 40 percent of Army guardsmen person had shots.

Roughly 97 percent of the 1.3 cardinal active-duty work members successful the United States person had astatine slightest 1 dose of the vaccine.

“The caput reiterated that helium wants them to support that property up to get arsenic galore radical vaccinated arsenic possible,” Mr. Kirby said, describing a gathering Mr. Austin had with each the work secretaries.

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