Navy Separations Over COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal Jump by Nearly 100 in a Week

March 2, 2022 7:42 PM
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Nash Bovard, right, administers a COVID-19 vaccine booster to Culinary Specialist (Submarine) 3rd Class Zhabaron Brown during a shot exercise aboard USS Missouri (SSN-780) on Jan. 17, 2022 in Yokosuka, Japan. US Navy Photo

The Navy nearly separated 100 active-duty sailors as the sea service continues toward a force fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Navy separated 99 active-duty sailors this week, according to its weekly COVID-19 update, which publishes weekly on Wednesdays. This brings the total number of sailors, including members of the reserve, to 419.

Of the 419 separations, one was a reservist, 22 were entry-level sailors who served less than 180 days and 396 active-duty sailors. Details on the active-duty sailors were not included in the COVID-19 update.

The Navy will never have a force that is 100 percent vaccinated, due to exemptions that have been granted, but the force has been slowly climbing toward as close as 100 percent as possible, the service said.

As of Wednesday, 4,629 active-duty sailors were not fully vaccinated, which includes those with exemptions and ones waiting for waiver requests to be adjudicated, as well as those who are in the process of being vaccinated.

That number decreased by 191 over the past week. However, the number of reservists not fully-vaccinated increased by 182 over the past week, bringing the total to 3,152. The update did not include a reason for the increase.

The Navy has granted 12 permanent medical, 211 temporary medical and 39 administrative exemptions for active-duty sailors. For the reserve, the sea service granted 12 temporary and 30 administrative vaccination waivers.

The Navy has not approved a religious exemption for an active-duty or reserve sailor, although it has approved one waiver for someone in the individual ready reserve, on the condition that the person would need to be vaccinated if called up into the reserve or active-duty forces.

There have been 3,472 religious waiver requests from active-duty sailors and 866 from reservists. It is not clear how many have been adjudicated.

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.
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