WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Congress is considering legislation that would make it easier for people to vote online.
According to the Air Force, approximately 8,500 active duty personnel of the Air Force and Space Force missed the deadline for having COVID-19 vaccines, including 800 who outright rejected and nearly 5,000 who had outstanding petitions for a religious exemption released Wednesday.
Nearly 8,500 Covid Shots Were Missed, According Air Force.
It is estimated that 95.9 percent of the 326,000 active duty personnel of the Air Force and Space Force are wholly vaccinated and that 96.9 percent have had at least one vaccination, according to the Air Force.
According to a statement by Ann Stefanek, a spokesperson for the United States Air force, the vaccinated force is a protected force, and a protected force is better prepared to deploy and defend our interests wherever at any time.
We must ensure that our people are safe and healthy by providing them with the COVID-19 vaccination. This is a matter of preparedness.
The Air Force had set a deadline of Tuesday for all active-duty personnel to acquire their vaccines. The Air Force deadline was the first to be met in terms of military services, offering a preliminary peek into how the United States military would respond to the directive.
As of Tuesday, the Air Force reported that 8,486 service personnel had not received the required vaccinations. 800 people had verbally rejected to participate in the survey. Another 2,753 people had not begun the vaccination procedure for reasons not specified in the Air Force notice, and 4,933 people had submitted petitions for religious exemptions that were still waiting.
After reviewing petitions for medical and religious exemptions, the Air Force said it would conclude its study by December 2. A total of 1,866 petitions for medical or administrative exemptions have been accepted so far this year. According to the statement, zero requests for religious exemptions have been granted.
This puts thousands of disciplinary measures in motion and prepares the ground for exemption processes that may last for several weeks or more.
Commanding officers retain the entire range of disciplinary measures available to them under law and policy if a service member refuses to get the COVID-19 vaccination. Some of them include issuing administrative paperwork, applying no judicial punishment, or sending the case to court-martial.
The refusal to obtain a qualifying vaccine by Nov. 2 and the failure to accept or the inability to initiate the process of getting a medical exemption or religious accommodation will be considered to violate a lawful order and subject to discipline by Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Before taking action against a service member, commanders will coordinate initial disposition with the first O-6 in the service member’s chain of command, with special court-martial convening authority. They should consult with their serving Staff Judge Advocate for additional guidance on vaccination non-compliance before taking action against them.
Additionally, the Department of the Air Force is holding recruits responsible, having recently discharged roughly 40 Air Force Basic Military and Technical trainees under Entry Level Separation” characterizations after they refused to get the vaccination.