Forty would-be airmen or Guardians have been separated from Air Force and Space Force recruit training after refusing the Covid-19 vaccine. Recruits can opt to get the vaccine before they arrive for training or will be required to get their series at boot camp.
Air Force officials confirmed this week that 40 basic military and technical trainees have been discharged under entry-level separation characterizations for refusing the vaccine.
Entry-level discharges can be awarded to personnel who have yet to serve 180 days; it usually carries no designation such as a good, bad or other-than-honorable discharge, simply equating to a separation from service.
The dismissals come as the deadline for vaccinations in the Air Force and Space Force approaches. Under guidance issued by Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, active-duty personnel must be fully vaccinated by November 2, 2021.
They needed to get their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine — or their sole Johnson & Johnson vaccination — by Oct. 19. (Patients who receive any COVID-19 do not reach full immunity for two weeks).
As of October 26th, almost 95% of active-duty Air Force and Space Force members were fully vaccinated, while an additional 2% had received their first dose, leaving roughly 12,000 of the 400.000 airmen and Guardians who missed the deadline.
Air Force officials said last week that anyone who has not been vaccinated and is not seeking a medical exemption or religious accommodation will face disciplinary action under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice — failure to obey an order or regulation.
To those yet to get vaccinated, the order is clear: You have a responsibility to take action now, protect our nation and those we love, or be held accountable for failing to do so.
The Air Force has notified commanders that they can use a range of actions to discipline vaccine holdouts, including reprimands, nonjudicial punishment and court-martial.
The Air Force is the first service to announce separations based on the vaccine mandate. The Army, Navy and Marine Corps have differing deadlines and have not yet started separation proceedings for any recruits or officer candidates.
The next vaccine deadlines will affect active-duty Navy sailors and Marines, who must be fully vaccinated by November 28, 2021.
The Navy continues to lead the services in vaccination rates, with 99% of active-duty sailors having received at least one dose of a vaccine, fewer than 3,500 sailors remain to be vaccinated.
Roughly 93% of active-duty Army soldiers are fully vaccinated or have received at least one dose, leaving roughly 3,400 of the 57.000 totally to still be vaccinated.
Since the start of the COVID-19 vaccination effort, the Marine Corps has lagged behind the other services, and this remains true as the service’s deadline approaches. About 93% of the active-duty Marine Corps had received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Military.com / ABC Flash Point News 2021.