Navy COVID-19 Vaccine Separations Continue, Except for Those With Religious Exemption Requests

April 4, 2022 4:35 PM
A Nurse Corps Officer with Branch Health Clinic on Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, prepares vaccines at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, Feb. 2, 2022. US Marine Corps Photo

The Navy separated 80 sailors last week over refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The sea service announced the separations a day after it put out a new NAVADMIN halting all separations for those who applied for a religious exemption request. The Navy has not said how many of the separations were sailors who applied for a religious waiver.

It is likely that the 80 sailors separated in the past week did not apply for a religious exemption request prior to their separations. The Navy has not yet approved a religious exemption request for an active-duty sailor or reservist, although it has approved nine for sailors in the Individual Ready Reserve, under the condition they get vaccinated if called up into active-duty or reserve status.

The Navy released the NAVADMIN halting separations for those who requested religious exemptions after a federal judge granted a class action certification in the case of 26 Navy SEALs who are suing Department of Defense officials over the vaccine mandate, USNI News previously reported.

The class action certification extended the judge’s preliminary injunction, preventing the Navy from separating the SEALs and other plaintiffs, for COVID-19 vaccine refusal, to 4,095 sailors who have submitted requests for religious exemptions.

Of the 80 sailors separated, all were enlisted. There were 44 active-duty sailors with less than six years of service, 25 active-duty sailors with more than six years of service, six reservists with more than six years of service and five reservists with less than six years of service, Navy spokesman Lt. Travis Callaghan said in an email.

The Navy has so far approved 13 permanent medical, 207 temporary medical and administrative exemptions for active-duty sailors. It granted one permanent medical, 10 temporary medical and 12 administrative waivers for reservists.

There are 4,282 active-duty sailors and 3,267 reservists who are not fully vaccinated, although that includes those who have exemptions and those in the process of getting vaccinated.

The Navy has separated the second-most personnel over their refusal to get vaccinated, with the Marine Corps discharging the most.

As of Thursday, the Marine Corps separated 1,409 Marines, an increase of 80 over the previous week.

The Army has separated 90 soldiers, as of March 30, according to the service’s COVID-19 update. The Air Force has separated 236 airmen.

Active-duty Marines are 97 percent fully vaccinated, with another 1 percent partially vaccinated. Reservists are 90 percent fully vaccinated, with another 1 percent partially vaccinated.

The Marine Corps have approved seven requests for religious exemptions and 914 medical or administrative ones.

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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