SC National Guard who refuse COVID-19 vaccine required to turn in equipment

National Guard soldiers
National Guard soldiers(Source: U.S. National Guard / Chazz Kibler / CC BY 2.0 via MGN)
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 5:38 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2022 at 9:53 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The South Carolina National Guard confirmed Thursday that soldiers and airmen who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine are being required to turn in their equipment this month.

In August 2021, the Secretary of Defense directed all service members including active, reserve and National Guard to receive the coronavirus vaccination.

After June 30, those who refuse will fall under Federal Prohibition of Performance - meaning they can’t drill, train or participate in other duties.

“This is not new guidance,” a spokesperson for the SC National Guard said in a statement to FOX Carolina News. “The South Carolina National Guard has informed Service Members of this requirement since the Secretary of Defense memo was released on August 24, 2021.”

The mandate does not apply to service members who have a pending religious or medical exemption.

The SC National Guard said the information is subject to change if and when additional guidance is given from the Department of the Army and the National Guard Bureau.

Governor Henry McMaster sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense in February, urging him to rescind the mandate on the National Guard.

In the letter, McMaster said the state of South Carolina will play no role in punishing unvaccinated guardsmen.