Sailors who refuse to take the vaccine will be expelled, according to the US Navy.
Personnel who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19 will be removed from the US Navy, according to the US Navy, ahead of the November 28 deadline for the injection.
“With Covid-19 immunizations now required for all military members,” the Navy said in a statement, “the Navy has announced preparations to begin processing for discharge those who refuse vaccination without a pending or approved exemption.”
It was the Pentagon’s first public statement on what would happen if military members refused to take the immunizations, which were made required at the end of August.
Military officials had avoided answering the question of what would happen to people who refused to be vaccinated until recently.
According to the navy, 98 percent of its 350,000 active duty members have started or finished the immunization process.
According to Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby, 96.7 percent of the approximately 1.4 million active duty troops in the US military had received at least one dose, and 83.7 percent had received two doses.
However, when military reserves were included, the level was only 80% with at least one dose.
If all services take the same harsh approach as the navy, up to 46,000 troops might be lost, though it’s likely that more will accept vaccinations before the deadline.
Since the pandemic began, Vice Admiral John Nowell, the chief of naval personnel, has reported 164 coronavirus deaths in the navy.
There were 144 of them who had not been inoculated, and the status of the remaining 20 remained unknown.
People who are ejected for refusing the vaccine will receive a general honorable discharge, but they may lose certain perks or be required to pay back training and education costs in some situations, according to the statement.
Navy personnel who qualify for a medical or other exemption from mandated immunizations may be moved from their existing assignments.
Because a single Covid case may infect an entire ship or submarine at sea, knocking it out of service, the navy has been particularly attentive to the pandemic.
Last year, an outbreak on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt affected over a fifth of the 4,800 crew, forcing the warship to stay in port in Guam for several weeks for decontamination.