May 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

4 Air Force cadets may not graduate after refusing coronavirus vaccine

Air Force Academy cadets during a graduation ceremony in April 2020.
Air Force Academy cadets during a graduation ceremony in April 2020. Photo: Christian Murdock/Colorado Springs Gazette/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

At least four Air Force Academy cadets may not graduate later this month because they have refused the COVID-19 vaccine, AP reports.

Why it matters: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made the vaccine mandatory for all service members last year. The cadets who refused the vaccine may also have to pay back tuition costs if they are not vaccinated by graduation, which is in two weeks.

The big picture: Students arriving at the military academies are required to receive vaccines to prevent several different diseases, such as measles, mumps and rubella, if they are not already vaccinated and regularly get the flu shot in the fall, according to AP.

  • Vaccines are necessary to maintain military readiness and the health of the U.S. armed forces.
  • The Army and Navy said currently none of their cadets are being prevented from graduating over vaccine refusal.
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