Twenty-three active-duty sailors have been discharged from the Navy for refusing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, the service said. In addition, 22 people previously left during their training period.
As of Wednesday, the Navy said, more than 5,000 active and nearly 3,000 reserve service members are unvaccinated, a minority among hundreds of thousands. The service says it has approved more than 200 medical exemptions to the mandate but has yet to approve a religious exemption, although there have been thousands of requests for religious accommodations.
The active-duty members were discharged with “an honorable characterization of service,” according to the Navy.
In early January, the Navy announced 22 “entry level separations” of service members “during initial training periods within their first 180 days of active duty.”
The U.S. military’s dismissals over coronavirus vaccination began last month, when the Air Force — which had the earliest vaccination deadline among branches — discharged 27 service members. More than 94 percent of the Air force was fully vaccinated at the time, according to the service branch.
The Navy’s deadline for active-duty service members to be fully vaccinated was Nov. 28, while its deadline for reserve members was Dec. 28.
The Navy has encouraged its personnel to get booster shots but has not mandated them.