The Pentagon rejected requests from military members who asked not to be vaccinated on religious grounds. While of the 10,000 requests submitted, there are still many ‘under review’; so far, none have been approved.
More than 10,000 members of the combined armed forces submitted requests for a religious exemption to mandatory COVID vaccination before the deadline. Still, so far, the Pentagon has rejected more than 2,100 of these requests, and none have been approved.
According to One Defense, the Air Force submitted 10,766 applications for a religious exemption, of which 2100 were rejected, none approved, and the rest remain in ‘processing.’ For the army, the figures are 1746 applications, 85 of these rejected, none approved and the rest under review.
As for the Navy, 2844 applications were submitted, but there is no data on how many were rejected or how many remain in the process. The same goes for the Marine Corps, which submitted 3192 applications, of which none were approved, and there is no information either.
According to Air Force statements, requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and evaluated based on the need to have the troops available for deployment.
“Each request is individually reviewed by Religious Resolution Teams at the wing, garrison, major command and field command levels, which are made up of chaplains, medical providers, judge advocates, and other subject matter experts,” the Dec. 22 Air Force memo states.
“Religious Resolution Teams make recommendations on determining the least restrictive means possible to accommodate a sincerely held belief without putting mission accomplishment at risk,” the statement explains.
In August of this year, Defense Secretary Austin Lloyd announced that all military personnel would be required to be vaccinated for the COVID virus.
However, at an Aug. 10 conference, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby assured that military personnel who did not want to be vaccinated against COVID for religious reasons could apply for an exemption because the mechanism has been in place in the military for a long time.
The Pentagon has the authority to administer the vaccine to troops, but that “there is a religious exemption possibility for any mandatory vaccine and there’s a process that we go through to counsel the individual, both from a medical and from a command perspective, about using a religious exemption,” Kirby said.
“And an individual could also be exempt from a mandatory vaccine based on medical purposes—a pre-existing condition, that kind of thing … the primary care physician will be able to help make that determination,” the Pentagon spokesman said.
According to official data, with vaccination deadlines having expired across all forces, more than 96 percent of military personnel have been vaccinated.
However, nearly 4,000 military personnel have refused to be vaccinated outright without argument. Of this group, 3,000 have already received written reprimands.
At least six active soldiers of the army were released from duty for refusing the vaccine.
“Currently, soldiers who refuse the order to be vaccinated without an approved or pending exemption request may be subject to adverse administrative action,” Army officials warned. “Beginning in January, Army commanders will initiate involuntary separation for the less than one percent of active component soldiers who continue to refuse the vaccination order without an approved or pending exemption.”
In March 2021, the Archdiocese of New Orleans advised its faithful not to vaccinate with the Johnson&Johnson vaccine because, in its production line, cells from aborted babies are used.
“… the archdiocese must instruct Catholics that the latest vaccine from Janssen/Johnson & Johnson is morally compromised as it uses the abortion-derived cell line in development and production of the vaccine as well as the testing,” said the Archdiocese’s statement, which recommended that the faithful get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead because they have no connection to abortions.