More Than 8,000 Navy Personnel Remain Unvaccinated Against COVID-19 as Reserve Deadline Passes

December 29, 2021 6:00 PM
Hospital Corpsman Julio Trujillo, from Orlando, Fla., administers a flu vaccine aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) transits the Philippine Sea on Oct. 25, 2021. US Navy Photo

More than 8,000 members of the Navy remain unvaccinated after deadlines for both active-duty and reservists passed.

There are 5,328 active-duty sailors and 3,002 Ready Reserve service members who are unvaccinated, as of Dec. 29, according to the Navy. Included in the number are those who are in the process of getting vaccinated, have an exemption or are waiting for an exemption request to be adjudicated.

It has been over a month since the deadline for active-duty sailors to be fully vaccinated — two weeks post the second of the two-shot Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or the one-shot Johnson and Johnson option. The deadline for Naval reservists was Tuesday.

The Navy has received 2,877 religious exemption requests from active-duty sailors and 283 religious exemption requests from reservists. None have been granted, in line with the Navy’s history. The Navy has not granted a religious exemption in the past seven years, USNI News previously reported.

The Navy has granted eight permanent medical exemptions for active-duty sailors and none for reservists, according to the Navy’s COVID-19 update. The sea service approved 253 temporary medical exemptions for active-duty sailors and nine for reservists.

There were also 94 administrative exemptions for active-duty sailors and 44 for reservists.
While the Navy can now separate active-duty sailors for refusing to get the vaccine, it is unclear if anyone has been officially processed for separation as a result of not receiving the vaccine.

Cmdr. Lucian Kins, the executive officer of USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81), was relieved after he failed to follow a lawful order, USNI News reported. While the Navy did not officially say it was for vaccine refusal, a Navy official told USNI News that Kins refused the vaccine and COVID-19 testing.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

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