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FOX 13 Investigates: Hundreds of Utah, Idaho National Guard soldiers could be unvaccinated despite deadline

Posted at 5:51 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 10:32:53-04

SALT LAKE CITY — More than 600 Utah National Guard personnel could still be without COVID-19 vaccinations despite deadlines to do so.

The Pentagon has said Army National Guard soldiers are supposed to be vaccinated by Thursday – the end of June. Air National Guard personnel have already passed their deadline. It was in December.

Yet, according to data FOX 13 News received through the Freedom of Information Act, only 95% of Utah Air National Guard personnel were vaccinated as of June 1. The figure was 91% for the Utah Army National Guard.

That means about 120 Utah airmen and 500 soldiers started June without their shots.

Utah also had a lower rate than active-duty personnel. The Defense Department in December said 98% of them were vaccinated.

Lindsay Cohn, an associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College who has been monitoring vaccinations in the military, told FOX 13 News in February that unvaccinated personnel could impact military readiness and order.

“They are they're in an institution that that expects them to trust the institution,” Cohn said. “The whole concept of good order and discipline of obeying orders.”

“This is really important for the for the good functioning of a military.”

The active-duty branches have been discharging soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors who have refused vaccinations and have not been issued a medical or religious exception. Yet the Utah National Guard, in the answering the public records request, said none of its personnel had been disciplined or discharged.

Representatives of the Utah National Guard declined interview requests.

FOX 13 News inquired with surrounding states. Only the Idaho National Guard answered a request.

Of the 4,400 personnel in the Idaho Air and Army National Guard, only 89% were vaccinated as of May 23.

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