Jan 4, 2022 - Health

Judge blocks Pentagon from punishing Navy Seals who refused vaccine

The Department of Defense seal.

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Monday that prevented the Department of Defense from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccination requirement and punishing a group of 35 Navy Seals who refused to get vaccinated and sued the federal government over the mandate.

Why it matters: The injunction, which will likely be appealed by the Biden administration, raises questions on how it might shape the Pentagon’s vaccine mandate for all U.S. troops if ultimately upheld.

The big picture: U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor upheld the Navy Seals' lawsuit and filed the injunction on religious freedom grounds, saying the service members had a right to refuse the vaccine because of their beliefs.

  • As of late December, roughly 98% of all active-duty forces, including reserve members, had received the COVID-19 vaccine.

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