The US Army said Wednesday it will immediately begin separating soldiers from service who refuse to get a coronavirus vaccine.

Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, under a directive, asked commanders to initiate involuntary administrative separation proceedings against any vaccine refusal soldier and those who do not have an approved or pending exemption request.

The directive applies to all soldiers, active-duty reserve-component soldiers and cadets.

“Army readiness depends on Soldiers who are prepared to train, deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars,” 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.”

Soldiers who will complete their separation or retirement, or begin transition leave, on or before July 1, 2022, are granted a temporary exemption.

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