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Navy releases first active-duty Sailors for refusing the COVID shot


The Navy announced this week that it has released 23 active-duty Sailors for failing to meet the Navy’s COVID vaccination requirement.


In early January, the Navy announced that 20 entry-level Sailors had been released for the same reason. But the Navy had yet to touch Sailors who had served beyond their first 180 day training period.


The Navy said Wednesday that 23 “Active Component” Sailors were separated, all with an honorable discharge. As of this week, 22 “Entry Level Separations” have taken place.


The Navy provided new data this week that show no active-duty Sailor has been able to receive a religious exemption to the COVID vaccination mandate. It said 10 permanent medical exemptions, 259 temporary medical exemptions and 59 administrative exemptions have been granted to active-duty Sailors, and a total of 31 similar exemptions for Ready Reserve Sailors.


The Navy Times reported that the Marine Corps has so far discharged 334 Marines, and predicted that the number of troops to be discharged will likely “grow exponentially” in the coming weeks as reviews of each non-vaccinated service member are completed.


Earlier this month, a federal judge blocked the Navy from enforcing the COVID mandate against 35 Sailors who challenged it in court. But while that decision has the potential to undermine the Pentagon-wide mandate, for now it applies only to the Sailors who brought the case.


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