The Air Force gave its airmen until Nov. 2 to get what they call fully vaccinated or be in violation of a lawful order and subject to discipline.
Sec. of Defense Lloyd Austin announced a mandate for the COVID vaccine for all of its members of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves, that was fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August.
Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek announced Monday that 27 airmen were administratively discharged, according to multiple reports.
All of those who’ve been discharged were in their first enlistments, Stefanek said, indicating they were younger personnel who’ve served for less than six years. She added that the refusal to get vaccinated was at least one factor in the dismissals.
Members are allowed to request exemptions for medical, religious, or administrative reasons, according to Air Force policy, which also applies to the U.S. Space Force.
As of late November, the Air Force says 96.6 percent of active-duty members were fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Navy Commander Lucian Kins was relieved of his duties as the executive officer of a destroyer, the USS Winston Churchill, for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Navy officials said Friday.
Kins, who was denied a religious exemption but has appealed the decision, is the first naval officer to be relieved for not complying with the vaccine mandate, the AP reports.
A Navy spokesman said Kins’ commanding officer had lost confidence in his ability to perform his duties after he failed to obey a lawful order but declined to indicate the reasons. However, other officials confirmed to the AP it was because he refused both the order to get vaccinated and to be tested to confirm he did not have covid.
Lt. Cmdr. Han Yi, the Churchill’s plans and tactics officer was temporarily assigned the role of executive officer of the ship until a permanent relief is identified, a spokesman said.