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With deadline past, most soldiers vaccinated against COVID

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 4:13 PM EST
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - With Wednesday’s deadline to get vaccinated against COVID-19 come and gone, most soldiers have at least some protection.

“In the mid 90-percent for fully vaccinated, and then upper 90s for having at least one of the doses,” said Colonel Matthew Mapes, who leads Fort Drum’s MEDDAC unit.

Mapes was speaking about vaccination rates Army-wide; Fort Drum has not released the specific number of soldiers locally who are vaccinated. 7 News was told that number is pretty consistent with the Army’s percentage.

Soldiers were required by the Pentagon to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by December 15.

“It’s all about readiness and protecting the force, so that we can accomplish the mission that the Army assigns us,” Mapes said.

There are medical exemptions from getting the shot, but Colonel Mapes says for the most part those are only temporary. As for religious exemptions, the Army Times reports out of the 1,764 active duty troops who requested one, none have received approval and so far 85 have been denied.

Colonel Mapes adds vaccination requirements for the 10th Mountain Division and the Army as a whole are nothing new.

According to the Army, nearly 4,000 soldiers refused to get the vaccine and could be discharged from the military as early as next month. We reached out to Fort Drum to learn if any of its soldiers are included in that number, but we did not hear back.

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