Air Force Fires Service Members Who Refused To Get Covid Vaccine In Military First

Emily Brown



The US Air Force has discharged more than two dozen service members after they disobeyed the mandate requiring them to be vaccinated against Covid. 

Following the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent vaccination program, the Pentagon issued the mandate that all members of the military, including active duty, National Guard and the Reserves, receive their vaccination.

Each service was able to set its own deadlines and procedures in order to carry out the mandate, with the Air Force requiring everyone to be vaccinated by November 2.

Woman holding coronavirus vaccine (Alamy)Alamy

Despite helping to reduce the impacts of coronavirus, thousands of members reportedly either refused to obey the order or sought an exemption.

With the deadline having now come and gone, the Air Force discharged 27 members who had not received the vaccine, and who had not sought any type of medical, administrative or religious exemption.

They were formally removed from service for failure to obey an order, marking what officials believe to be the first service members to be discharged for disobeying the mandate, ABC News reports.

Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek explained that those discharged are the first to be administratively discharged for reasons involving the vaccine, and that all of them were in their first term of enlistment, making them younger, lower-ranking personnel.

The service has not disclosed the type of discharge the members received, though legislation currently going through Congress limits the military from giving honourable discharge or general discharge under honourable conditions in cases involving vaccine refusal.

US Air Force uniform (Alamy)Alamy

The Air Force is thought to be the only service to have made it this far along in the mandate process, and while Stefanek said it is also possible that some of those discharged had other infractions on their records, all 27 had the vaccine refusal as one of the elements of their discharge.

Though being removed from a role due to a refusal to have a vaccine is a concept that has largely come about following the coronavirus outbreak, it is not unusual for members of the military to be discharged for failing to obey an order.

Stefanek noted that about 1,800 airmen were discharged for failure to follow orders in the first three quarters of 2021.

Air Force data cited by ABC News indicates that as of last week just over 97% of the active duty Air Force had received at least one dose of the vaccine. More than 1,000 airmen have refused the shot, and more than 4,700 are seeking a religious exemption.

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Topics: News, Coronavirus, COVID-19, US, vaccine


ABC News
  1. ABC News

    Air Force discharges 27 for refusal to get COVID vaccine

Emily Brown
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