Dec 15, 2021 - Health

Navy to discharge sailors who defy COVID vaccine mandate

Navy medical personnel prepare Moderna coronavirus vaccines. Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images

The U.S. Navy will begin discharging service members who refuse to comply with the vaccine mandate, the navy personnel chief announced on Wednesday.

The big picture: The Navy is the latest military branch to move to discharge individuals for refusing to get vaccinated. The Air Force has discharged 27 service members for defying the mandate.

By the numbers: The Navy had as of last week 5,731 unvaccinated sailors, including 2,705 religious exemption requests, CNN reports.

What they're saying: "U.S. Navy policy is, first, that all Navy service members receive the vaccine as directed and, second, that any who refuse the vaccine be processed for separation at the earliest possible opportunity, " said Vice Adm. John Nowell, the chief of naval personnel, in a statement.

Yes, but: Sailors can stay in the Navy if they get the vaccine, even if they cannot meet the vaccination deadlines, according to the announcement.

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