At the end of August the Pentagon initially announced a mandate for military personnel across all armed service branches, ordering them to “immediately begin” Covid vaccination. A memo issued by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the time directed the Secretaries of the Military Departments to “immediately begin full vaccination of all members of the Armed Forces under DoD authority on active duty or in the Ready Reserve, including the National Guard, who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”
However, when the mandate went out it remained unclear precisely what repercussions military members would face if they don’t comply – this also as a number of lawsuits have since been filed against the DoD by troops arguing that the order violates individual medical freedom. On Thursday the US Navy made it clear to their personnel: receive the jab by November 28 or be expelled from the service.
“With Covid-19 vaccines now mandatory for all military members, the Navy has announced plans to start processing for discharge those who refuse vaccination without a pending or approved exemption,” the US Navy said in the statement.
The Pentagon had so far remained ambiguous over whether servicemembers would actually be booted after the mandate cut-off date. With Thursday’s Navy announcement, other branches are expected to soon follow suit.
The AFP notes that “The navy said that 98 percent of its 350,000 active duty members had begun or completed the vaccination process.” The rate among all branches combined is about equal – or just under this, but Pentagon officials worry about lagging vaccination rates in the reserves, given recent reports indicate just 80% of the reserves have had at least one dose.
Read More: Navy Announces Plans To Expel Those Refusing Covid Vaccine, Revoke Benefits