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Troops can seek exemptions to vaccines for health, religious reasons, others could be punished for refusing shots

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WASHINGTON — Troops can apply for an exemption to the pending coronavirus vaccine mandate for certain health conditions or religious reasons, but others will face punishment for refusing the shots, chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday announced he would add the coronavirus vaccine to the Defense Department’s list of required immunizations by mid-September, after which all service members without valid exemptions will be required to receive the shots or face expulsion from the military.

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