WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Navy personnel who made the decision to remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 – despite it being mandated for all military members by the Pentagon – will be discharged and potentially face a number of other punishments, including possible loss of benefits, promotions, and bonus pay, according to a NAVADMIN – a naval administrative message – released on Monday,
“In order to ensure a fully vaccinated force, U.S. Navy policy is to process for separation all Navy service members who refuse the lawful order to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and do not have an approved exemption,” the NAVADMIN said.
Active-duty Navy personnel had a deadline of November 14 to receive their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to ensure that they were fully inoculated by November 28; sailors who have refused the jab could receive as low as a general discharge under honorable conditions, in addition to the possible loss of education benefits, promotions and bonus pay.
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“Bonuses, special pays and incentive pays become unearned when a Navy service member refusing the vaccine is no longer performing duties for which they are receiving such a bonus, special pay, or incentive pay,” the NAVADMIN said. “Navy service members refusing the vaccine who are in a frocked status should be defrocked as soon as feasible.”
Navy members are allowed to apply to opt-out of vaccination for religious or medical reasons; however, if their application is rejected, they are given a five-day grace period to begin the vaccination process before their discharge begins.
Currently, according to data released in November, 96 percent of active-duty Navy personnel are fully vaccinated against COVID-19; to date, all applications to opt-out of the jab for religious reasons have been rejected by Navy officials, and only six medical exemptions have been approved.