BANGOR, Maine — About a year ago, the United States Department of Defense announced all troops had to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Most of those in the service got the vaccine by this year's June 30 deadline, including those serving in the Maine National Guard, but not all followed this particular order.
According to the Maine National Guard, 95% of its troops are vaccinated against COVID-19.
"Of the 54 state and territorial National Guard elements, Maine has consistently been in the top 5 for vaccination percentage for quite some time," Maine National Guard Public Affairs Officer Maj. Carl Lamb told NEWS CENTER Maine in a statement.
Maj. Lamb said Maine's National Guard, including the Army National Guard and Air National Guard, typically includes just fewer than 3,000 troops.
"I think it's partly the emphasis of our supervisors, and commanders, and leaders on educating the members on the vaccination, what it meant, and why it is important," said Maine National Guard Adjutant General Doug Farnham about why he thinks a majority of his troops got the vaccine. "Also, just the culture here in the state of Maine. Maine as a whole did a great job getting vaccinations done compared to some other parts of the country."
As for the 5% not vaccinated, Farnham said some troops have pending religious and medical exemptions and are working with some limitations. The rest aren't able to fulfill their duties and are not receiving military pay and benefits.
As of July 14, 2022, 88% of all U.S. Army National Guard Troops were vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the U.S. Army.