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Navy has separated 804 Sailors for refusing the COVID vaccine

The Navy said this week that more than 800 Sailors have been separated from service since its COVID-19 vaccinate requirement took effect late last year.

Of the 804 separated Sailors, 753 of them were on active duty and 29 were Reserve Component Sailors. Another 22 Entry Level Separations took place during the first six months of their service with the Navy.

All separated Sailors were granted honorable status, the Navy said.

Meanwhile, the number of Sailors seeking a religious exemption to the vaccinate mandate continues to grow. The Navy said 3,352 active-duty Sailors and 852 members of the Ready Reserve have asked for a religious exemption.

That number could continue to grow, as a federal court in Texas ruled in March that Sailors who seek religious accommodation cannot be separated from service. “Vaccine refusers who have not submitted religious accommodation requests remain subject to adverse administrative action, including separation,” the Navy said.

In March, however, the Supreme Court ruled that the Navy is not required to deploy unvaccinated Sailors. That decision said lower court rulings to the contrary were an inappropriate intrusion into the Navy’s chain of command.

So far, the Navy has only granted about three dozen religious accommodation requests, but only to members of the Individual Ready Reserve or those who are on separation leave. No current active-duty Sailor has been granted a religious exemption to the vaccinate mandate.

Among active-duty Sailors, 13 permanent medical exemptions and 242 temporary medical exemptions have been granted.

As of mid-April, 4,110 active-duty Sailors and 3,277 members of the Ready Reserve remain unvaccinated.

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