Navy Exceeds 1,500 COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal Separations

August 24, 2022 7:35 PM
Hospitalman Joseph Sanchez, assigned to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka Branch Health Clinic Sasebo, administers a COVID-19 vaccine booster during a shot exercise for Japanese Master Labor Contract (MLC), Indirect Hire Agreement (IHA), and MarinerÕs Contract (MC) employees employed at Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo (CFAS) on Feb. 9, 2022. US Navy Photo

The Navy separated 67 sailors over the past month for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the sea service announced Wednesday.

The Navy has so far separated 1,187 active-duty sailors and 324 reservists since it mandated vaccinations against COVID-19 following the FDA licensure of the Pfizer vaccine, now called Comirnaty.

Of the 67 sailors separated in the past month, 66 were active-duty while one was a reservist. The 1,187 separations do not include 22 separations for sailors in their first 180 days of service.

There are still 3,000 active-duty and 3,376 reserve sailors that are not vaccinated, according to the sea service’s monthly update. This includes sailors who have requested a religious exemption, as the Navy is currently barred from separating sailors with religious waiver requests due to a ruling in the District Court of Texas.

Government officials, including Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, are currently appealing the case in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The service has granted 21 permanent and 189 temporary medical exemptions to active-duty sailors. It gave three permanent and 55 temporary ones to 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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