Navy Nearing 1,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Denial Separations

May 18, 2022 5:50 PM
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Gregzon Fontanilla, from Guam, prepares a COVID-19 vaccine aboard the America-class amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7) on May 10, 2022. US Navy Photo

The Navy is inching toward 1,000 separations due to COVID-19 vaccine denial, with the sea service approving separations for another 56 sailors over the past week.

The Navy currently has 980 total separations due to continued refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the service’s weekly COVID-19 update. Of the separations, 861 are active-duty sailors, while 97 are reservists. The total also includes 22 entry-level separations for sailors within their first 180 days of service.

The current separations are sailors who who have not applied for religious exemptions, as the Navy is currently suspended from separating anyone who requested a religious waiver for the vaccine due to a court ruling. However, any of the separations before the court ruling on March 28 could have included those who had requested a religious exemption and were denied.

The Navy had approved 37 religious exemptions for sailors who were going to retire or voluntarily separate from the service, but those cases were put on hold as a result of the court ruling.

The sea service has also granted 13 religious exemptions for members of the Individual Ready Reserve on the condition that they get vaccinated if called to active-duty or reserve status.

The Navy has also granted 14 permanent and 214 temporary medical exemptions for active-duty sailors and one permanent and 81 temporary medical waivers for reservists.

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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