US Navy purges first active-duty sailors over Covid-19 mandate
The US Navy has discharged 23 active-duty sailors for refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as the Pentagon continues to weed out vaccine skeptics in the military ranks
23 active-duty sailors have reportedly received honorable discharges for failing to provide proof of vaccination against the coronavirus. 22 entry-level sailors who were in their first 180 days of service have also been discharged, bringing the total number of discharged sailors to 45.
Active-duty Navy personnel and Marines were required by the Pentagon to be fully vaccinated by November 28, while reservists were mandated to finish their vaccination by December 28. However thousands of sailors reportedly missed the deadlines.
According to the Gazette, 5,000 active-duty sailors and almost 3,000 reserve sailors remain unvaccinated as of this week. 10 permanent medical exemptions, 266 temporary medical exemptions, and 83 other exemptions were reportedly granted by the US Navy, however none of the 4,000 religious exemption requests were approved - in line with the long-standing Pentagon policy.
The US Marine Corps has discharged 334 personnel, while the Air Force has terminated 111 so far. The US Army is the only branch of the US military which has not yet booted anyone over the vaccine mandate.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and President Joe Biden have argued that mandatory vaccination for those in the military is a “readiness” issue and have repeatedly threatened to punish soldiers who do not comply.
Austin himself – who is triple vaccinated – tested positive for Covid-19 this month, along with triple-vaxxed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. Both men revealed they were suffering from mild symptoms.