WASHINGTON – Senior leaders are deciding on the penalties for military personnel refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Most active military personnel already received at least one vaccine dose because of the mandate. This refusal can mean severe consequences for the military.
More precisely, military personnel faces possible career-ending decisions, transfers, travel restrictions, and limited deployments in the future. The government could also remove bonuses because of their refusal.
According to the Pentagon, any case requesting for an exemption will be on a case-to-case basis. The military intends to use this strategy to avoid inconsistent approaches when dealing with those refusing the vaccine.
The military performed these seemingly excessive consequences to maintain a healthy military workforce despite the COVID-19 pandemic. According to General Darrin Cox, the commanders intend to ensure that the regulations enforced on civilians are the same enforcement in military and government personnel.
According to Cox, the government wanted to “ensure that we were consistent and equitable in meeting out a punishment that would be a repercussion of continuing to refuse a valid order.”
Because of these mandates, military vaccination rates are significantly higher than the general population in the United States. More precisely, only 1%-7% of the military population remains unvaccinated.
Based on certain military regulations, a commander can reject a religious exemption if a significant impact on the unit’s mission.
COVID-19 vaccination rates in different military branches fluctuate. However, the National Guard and Reserve presented the lowest vaccination rates among other branches.