Only 800 airmen categorically refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19

The deadline for active-duty Airmen and Guardians to be fully vaccinated has passed and a tiny part has flatly refused to be vaccinated, while those seeking exemptions make up a larger, but still small, part of the force. .

Only 800 active-duty aviators and guards, out of an air and space force of around 326,000, said they would not be vaccinated against COVID-19 and face consequences and possible termination. To put the numbers in perspective, the 800 soldiers make up about 0.2% of the active service force.

However, those who remain unvaccinated number in the thousands. According to a fact sheet sent by the Air Force, around 2,750 have not yet started their vaccination procedure, but have not refused. Nearly 5,000 other airmen are asking for religious exemptions to be vaccinated. These exemptions are currently ongoing and the Air Force has not granted any religious exemptions at this time.

To date, only 1,866 exemptions have been granted, and these are for medical or administrative reasons.

“Over the next 30 days, the Air Force Department will review requests for medical exemptions and religious accommodations,” said an Air Force press release. “Civilians in the Air Force Department have until November 22 to be fully immunized, and Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members in reserve component status must be immunized by December 2. “

As of November 3, 97% of active service troops of the air and space forces are vaccinated or partially vaccinated.

The Air Force did not release figures for the Reserve, Guard or civilian workers because the deadlines were not met.

Likewise, the military and navy have not yet reached their vaccination deadlines of December 15 and November 28, respectively, and therefore cannot provide full results on exemptions and denials.

Those requesting exemptions are advised to fill out forms explaining why they cannot meet the legal requirement. The Department of Defense recently released a memo explaining how it will handle exemptions for DoD employees. Some questions ask if the person has opposed vaccines in the past and, if not, why the COVID-19 vaccine is different.

Sean Timmons, a managing partner of Tully Rinckey – who represents some members of the vaccine-avoidant service – recently told Federal Drive that military personnel asking for exemptions fall into a variety of buckets ranging from sincere religious beliefs to people who have already had COVID and I don’t want the shot.

“I see a lot of conspiracy theories, not as common with federal employees and the military, but we see recurring conspiracy theories in each of these items,” he said. “We’re trying to get people back from conspiracy theories – you can’t use conspiracy theory information as a basis for getting an accommodation.” We mainly focus on the judicial authorities.

The Air Force has already started sending reprimands and possible dismissals to airmen who refuse the vaccine.

The Air Force’s amn / nco / snco Facebook group posted a reprimand issued by the 319e Reconnaissance Wing in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The letter, dated October 3, indicates that the airman did not obey a lawful order.

“You did not follow a direct order from a senior officer and in doing so put yourself and your fellow airmen in danger,” the reprimand reads. “I can no longer trust you to obey orders that will carry out our mission. You have shown that you are not determined to maintain the readiness of the Air Force Department. “

The reprimand orders the airman to complete a virtual or in-person workshop on the Transition Assistance Program and obtain a separation history and physical exam in 14 days.

“Your conduct is unacceptable and any further deviation or non-compliance may result in more severe action,” the letter said.

In total, approximately 73,000 military personnel, contractors, civilians and dependents linked to the Department of the Air Force contracted COVID-19, and 139 of them have died.

About Harold Hartman

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