Approximately 12,000 Air Force personnel have reportedly refused orders to be vaccinated against the Chinese coronavirus despite the Pentagon’s mandate.
Officials said it was too late for them to take it by the Tuesday deadline which posed a test for leaders whose August directive apparently sparked defiance in one segment of the force, according to the Washington Post.
The Thursday report continued:
The vast majority of active-duty airmen, 96.4%, are at least partially vaccinated, according to data from the Air Force. But officials have warned that, barring an approved medical or religious exemption, those who defy lawful orders to be fully immunized are subject to punishment, including possible dismissal from the service or they could be charged in the military justice system.
The challenge now confronting Air Force leaders – how to address potential large-scale dissent in the face of a top health priority that has been deeply politicized – is a bellwether for the dilemma that’s in store across the military’s other services, which have staggered compliance deadlines ranging from the end of November to the middle of next summer and in some cases have experienced far greater resistance to President Joe Biden’s mandate.
In August, several members of the U.S. military expressed their concerns as the Pentagon issued the coronavirus vaccine mandate, Breitbart News reported.
“We get a lot of pressure from our commanders … and they tell you these sob stories to heavily persuade you, and it’s borderline harassment,” an Air Force member said, noting how he might need to “restart” if the vaccine became mandatory.
In addition, the Marine Corps warned in a message recently that Marines will be kicked out if they did not take the coronavirus vaccine.
The Marine Administrative Message (MARADMIN) posted on the Marine Corps’ website said, “Marines refusing the COVID-19 vaccination, absent an approved administrative or medical exemption, religious accommodation, or pending appeal shall be processed for administrative separation [in accordance with] this MARADMIN and supporting references.”
“General Court-Martial Convening Authorities (GCMCA) retain authority to take any additional adverse administrative or disciplinary action they deem appropriate,” it concluded.
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