Politics

U.S. Navy discharges 240 service members for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

On Wednesday, the U.S. Navy reported that it has discharged 240 service members over their refusal to get the Covid-19 vaccine, which was required by the Pentagon last year.

According to a news release by the Navy, 217 of those discharged were active duty, and one was a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves.

All those members who were released received honorable discharges from their service, which means they will still be eligible to receive their veteran benefits.

Less than two dozen of them, 22 out of the 240, were discharged as they were still completing their training within the first 180 days of their active duty service. As of Wednesday, over 8,000 Navy service members had not yet been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The Navy said that so far it has granted 10 permanent medical exemptions, 250 temporary medical exemptions, and 50 administrative exemptions to the wide reaching Covid-19 vaccine mandate for all active duty service members.

In the Reserves, the Navy has permitted nine temporary medical exemptions as well as nine administrative exemptions for the requirement.

The Navy also said in its release that it has received 3,348 requests for religious exemptions from service members on active duty, and another 800 of those requests from Reserve members. No requests for religious exemptions have been granted to date. 

The deadline for all active duty Navy members to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus was November 28, 2021, and all Reserve members had until December 28, 2021 to get their shots.

In December, the Navy announced that it would start discharging members who refuse the vaccine, and in the same week, the Air Force reported that it had discharged 27 service members as the Marine Corps said 103 had been discharged.

The U.S. Army, the largest branch of service, announced just last week that it will begin separating soldiers who refuse the vaccine.

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: MILITARY.COM

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