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Can my commander force me to take an immunizations?

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Yes in accordance with AR 600-20 commanders have a responsibility ensure the unit is medically protected.

AR 600-20 5-4g(2) Command aspects of medical readiness and medical care specifically states:

Immunizations. Commanders will ensure that Soldiers are continually educated concerning the intent and rationale behind both routine and theater-specific or threat-specific military immunization requirements. Immunizations required by AR 40–562 or other legal directive may be given involuntarily (except as prescribed in para 5–6 or para P–3b regarding religious accommodation). The intent of this authorization is to protect the health and overall effectiveness of the command, as well as the health and medical readiness of the individual Soldier. In cases where involuntary immunization is being considered, the following procedures and limitations apply:

(a) Under normal circumstances, actions will not be taken to involuntarily immunize Soldiers. If a Soldier declines to be immunized the commander will—

1. Ensure that the Soldier understands the purpose of the vaccine.

2. Ensure that the Soldier has been advised of the possibility that the disease may be naturally present in a possible area of operation or may be used as a biological weapon against the United States and its allies.

3. Ensure that the Soldier is educated about the vaccine and has been able to discuss any objections with medical authorities.

4. Counsel the Soldier, in writing, that he or she is legally required to be immunized; that if the Soldier continues to refuse to be immunized that he or she will be legally ordered to do so, and that failure to obey the order may result in UCMJ and/or administrative action for failure to obey a lawful order (UCMJ, Art. 92) as deemed appropriate by the commander.

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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