Military leaders have warned for months that troops would face consequences if they did not follow what is considered to be a lawful order to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But only in the last week or so have they publicly begun following through on those threats. All U.S. military services have now begun disciplinary actions and discharges for troops who have refused to get the mandated coronavirus vaccine, officials said Thursday, with as many as 20,000 unvaccinated forces at risk of being removed from service.
It’s not clear how many could end up being discharged. But according to the services, at least 30,000 service members are not yet vaccinated, but several thousand of those have gotten temporary or permanent medical or administrative exemptions approved. Of the remaining likely 20,000 or more, thousands are working their way through the exemptions process or have flatly refused. That’s about 1.5% of the roughly 1.3 million active-duty troops.
The Marine Corps said 95% of its force has gotten at least one dose as of Thursday. About 97.5% of the Air Force have gotten at least one shot, and a bit more than 1,000 have flatly refused. And 98.4% of the Navy is fully vaccinated, although they do not release totals of those with one dose.
Washington Post: 40,000 vaccine holdouts in the US military.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 13, 2021
More than 12,000 active-duty members have sought religious exemptions. And about 4,800 Army soldiers and Air Force airmen have flatly refused the vaccine, without seeking an exemption. The Navy and Marine Corps have not released their refusal totals, but on Thursday, the Marine Corps said it has discharged 103 Marines so far for refusing the vaccine. The Army said it has reprimanded more than 2,700 soldiers and will begin discharge proceedings in January. The Air Force said earlier this week that 27 airmen had been discharged for refusing the vaccine order. And the Navy laid out its new discipline procedure this week, and has already fired one sailor from his command job for refusing to be tested while he pursues an exemption.
Ted Cruz was right
Kicking military members out who refuse to follow a lawful order to get a vaccine
Because they have swore allegiance to an orange sh*t stain
does make us all safer
— William Buecker (@wcbuecker) December 16, 2021
The Pentagon this year made the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all service members, including the National Guard and Reserve, and is also considering making the vaccine booster shots mandatory for service members.
Better headline: 97% of active duty military expected to be vaccinated by deadline (3%, 40000 out of 1.3M active duty military are not getting vaxed). #GetVaccinatedNow #VaccinateTheWorldhttps://t.co/hyd1rJ4yeH
— DrDinD 🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊 (@DrDinD) December 13, 2021