The Pentagon announced a vaccine mandate for military personnel across all armed service branches at the end of August. Many of them have complied with the mandate, but two months later, at least 8,500 active-duty members of the Air Force and Space Force are in non-compliance and risk being kicked out of the military, according to AP News.
As of Wednesday, the Air Force has 326,000 active-duty members of the Air Force and Space Force, with 95.9% fully vaccinated and 96.9% with at least one shot. Tuesday was the deadline for active-duty members to be vaxxed.
Around 8,500 service members had not been vaxxed as of Tuesday. A total of 800 had “verbally refused,” 2,753 had not started the vaccination process, and 4,933 have pending religious exemptions.
“Over the next 30 days, the Department of the Air Force will review requests for medical exemptions and religious accommodations,” the service said.
The hard part comes as the service will begin to discipline airmen and guardians for non-compliance.
“Commanders retain the full range of disciplinary options available to them under law and policy, some of which includes issuing administrative paperwork, imposing nonjudicial punishment, or referring court-martial charges,” the Air Force said.
Already, the service has discharged about 40 people from basic military training and technical training for refusing to be vaxxed.
Each branch of the military decided on different deadlines. The Air Force has the earliest deadlines.
Navy Seals were informed a little more than a month ago that they wouldn’t be deployed if they refused the jab.
Thousands of servicemen and women don’t want the jab because of the same beliefs of millions of unvaccinated Americans: They believe in natural immunity.
As for the Air Force, what might happen next is a mass expulsion of non-vaxxed service members. There was no word on what career fields the un-vaxxed were in. If some are pilots, especially ones operating stealth jets and bombers, the overreaching vaxx mandate could jeopardize America’s readiness for war.
We wonder how many active-duty military members will just end up quitting over the mandate?