Nearly 10,000 active Air Force airmen and Space Force guardians remain unaffected for COVID-19, according to the latest data provided Tuesday, the day of the Army’s first vaccination deadline.
This leaves senior leaders with difficult choices about the fate of those who have refused to comply with orders or are seeking exemptions.
The Air Force and Space Force’s COVID-19 vaccination compliance deadline for active duty soldiers is Tuesday. According to data obtained by the VOA, 97% of active duty airmen and guardians have had at least one vaccine dose, with 95% being fully vaccinated.
Asked whether the leadership of the Air Force and the Space Force is now planning to issue fresh guidance to commanders as the deadline approaches, a senior Air Force official told the VOA, “The guidance (for commanders) ) is obvious. Use all the tools at your disposal to encourage yourself. To get people vaccinated.”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters that 97% of all active duty soldiers had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, up from the number of active duty soldiers in the Army, Navy and Marines later this year. with time limit.
There have been some relaxations on rare occasions including five permanent medical exemptions given to sailors in the Navy.
Kirby said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has previously asked commanders to execute options other than punitive measures, but Kirby said commanders may eventually need to increase pressure to comply with a valid vaccination order.
“I think the secretary has been very clear with the leaders of military departments that he wants them to execute the mandate with a sense of compassion and understanding,” Kirby said. “He knows, as a former commander, that leaders have a variety of ways to help soldiers make the right decisions for themselves, for units, for families, in addition to using the same code of military justice.” Equipment is available.”
Data provided to the VOA from military service branches showed Tuesday that 94% of the Army, 99% of the Navy and 93% of the Marine Corps have been fully or partially vaccinated.
But active duty soldiers are vaccinated at a much higher rate than their reserve and guard counterparts, some of which have a deadline of June 30, 2022.
About a fifth of the total population of US service members – hundreds of thousands of soldiers – have yet to receive a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
According to spokesman Major Charlie Dietz, the Pentagon requires at least nine vaccines for individuals entering military service, including hepatitis A; hepatitis B; Influenza; Measles; poliovirus; tetanus, diphtheria; Hooping cough; and Varicella. Service members require up to 17 vaccines, depending on their role and geographic area.
Service members are exempt for certain essential vaccines, such as the vaccine for anthrax.