Navy COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal Separations Nears 2,000

The Navy separated 180 active-duty sailors in the past month for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the sea service’s monthly update. The Navy has separated a total of 1,544 active-duty sailors and 327 reservists for refusing to get the mandatory two-shot vaccine for COVID-19. Another 22 sailors were also released in their […]

A Navy Corpsman prepares a vaccine booster. US Navy Photo

The Navy separated 180 active-duty sailors in the past month for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the sea service’s monthly update.

The Navy has separated a total of 1,544 active-duty sailors and 327 reservists for refusing to get the mandatory two-shot vaccine for COVID-19. Another 22 sailors were also released in their first 180 days of service, bringing the Navy’s total of separated sailors to 1,893.

The Navy has received 3,318 religious waiver requests from active-duty sailors and 859 from reservists. Under a court ruling, the Navy cannot separate anyone who has submitted a religious exemption request.

The case, which involves approximately 35 special warfare community members, is currently in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral testimony in the case is currently scheduled for the week of Feb. 6, 2023.

The Navy has approved 50 religious exemption active-duty sailor requests, which did not increase in the past month. These are likely exemptions for service members who are leaving or retiring from the Navy, USNI News previously reported.

The sea service also approved 24 permanent and 162 medical waivers for active-duty sailors. It approved four permanent and 59 temporary medical exemptions for reservists.

There are also 14 religious exemption requests approved for members of the Individual Ready Reserve and one for the Selected Reserve on the condition that they get fully vaccinated if called to active or reserve status.

Navy Says 2,600 Active Duty Sailors Aren’t Vaccinated Against COVID-19

About 2,600 active-duty sailors remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 a year after the deadline for mandatory vaccination. The Navy separated 177 active-duty sailors over the past month, according to the monthly COVID-19 update. The sea service also separated two members of the reserve for refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19. With the most recent separations, the […]

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Mark Forrey, from Boise, Idaho, administers a Covid-19 vaccine to Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) Airman Micah Dayoub, from Lancaster, California, aboard aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) on Sep. 9, 2022. US Navy Photo

About 2,600 active-duty sailors remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 a year after the deadline for mandatory vaccination.

The Navy separated 177 active-duty sailors over the past month, according to the monthly COVID-19 update. The sea service also separated two members of the reserve for refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

With the most recent separations, the Navy has dismissed 1,712 sailors from the Navy, all of whom have received an honorable discharge, according to the update.

There are still 3,040 members of the reserve who are not yet vaccinated. The approximately 5,700 reserve and active sailors who are not vaccinated can include those who received administrative or medical exemptions.

That total includes anyone who filed a religious exemption request as the Navy cannot separate sailors who asked for a religious waiver under an active class action lawsuit against the sea service.

The Navy granted 21 permanent and 189 temporary medical exemptions for active-duty sailors and three permanent and 55 temporary medical waivers for reservists.

The sea service granted 14 religious waivers for members of the Individual Ready Reserve and one for a sailor in the Selected Reserve on the conditional basis that mandatory vaccination would apply if called to active or reserve duty.

The Navy also granted 50 religious waivers for active-duty sailors, but these religious exemptions are likely for members of the service who elected to leave or retire, USNI News previously reported.

Navy Exceeds 1,500 COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal Separations

The Navy separated 67 sailors over the past month for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the sea service announced Wednesday. The Navy has so far separated 1,187 active-duty sailors and 324 reservists since it mandated vaccinations against COVID-19 following the FDA licensure of the Pfizer vaccine, now called Comirnaty. Of the 67 sailors separated […]

Hospitalman Joseph Sanchez, assigned to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka Branch Health Clinic Sasebo, administers a COVID-19 vaccine booster during a shot exercise for Japanese Master Labor Contract (MLC), Indirect Hire Agreement (IHA), and MarinerÕs Contract (MC) employees employed at Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo (CFAS) on Feb. 9, 2022. US Navy Photo

The Navy separated 67 sailors over the past month for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the sea service announced Wednesday.

The Navy has so far separated 1,187 active-duty sailors and 324 reservists since it mandated vaccinations against COVID-19 following the FDA licensure of the Pfizer vaccine, now called Comirnaty.

Of the 67 sailors separated in the past month, 66 were active-duty while one was a reservist. The 1,187 separations do not include 22 separations for sailors in their first 180 days of service.

There are still 3,000 active-duty and 3,376 reserve sailors that are not vaccinated, according to the sea service’s monthly update. This includes sailors who have requested a religious exemption, as the Navy is currently barred from separating sailors with religious waiver requests due to a ruling in the District Court of Texas.

Government officials, including Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, are currently appealing the case in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The service has granted 21 permanent and 189 temporary medical exemptions to active-duty sailors. It gave three permanent and 55 temporary ones to reservists.

Navy Ready to Distribute Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine

The Navy will now have doses of the Novavax vaccine available for sailors. Novavax is the latest company to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA for its vaccine to prevent COVID-19 now an option for active duty troops, who have not yet gotten vaccinated. Unlike the vaccines produced by Pfizer or Moderna, which use […]

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Gregzon Fontanilla, from Guam, prepares a COVID-19 vaccine aboard the America-class amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7) on May 10, 2022. US Navy Photo

The Navy will now have doses of the Novavax vaccine available for sailors. Novavax is the latest company to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA for its vaccine to prevent COVID-19 now an option for active duty troops, who have not yet gotten vaccinated.

Unlike the vaccines produced by Pfizer or Moderna, which use mRNA, the Novavax shot uses a SARS-CoV-2 recombinant spike protein to produce an autoimmune reaction in order to protect against further infection. The Novavax shot is more traditional and similar to other vaccines against disease like tetanus or HPV.

Some Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials told The Associated Press that the traditional method for the Novavax vaccine might sway the unvaccinated population who have been hesitant to use the mRNA vaccines.

“If you have been waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine built on a different technology than those previously available, now is the time to join the millions of Americans who have been vaccinated,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

But others say that the new shot won’t sway people who are unvaccinated to get the jab, according to a CNBC report.

It is unclear how the new vaccine will play out with sailors and Marines. As of July 27, there are 3,147 active-duty sailors and 3,432 reservists who are not fully vaccinated, according to the Navy’s monthly COVID-19 update.

There are 4 percent of active-duty Marines and 6 percent of reservists who are not fully vaccinated, according to the service’s monthly COVID-19 updates.

Each service has received thousands of requests to receive a waiver from the vaccine, citing religion, with some specific examples being the vaccine uses stem cell research or that because the Pfizer and Moderna variations used mRNA, it would alter their cells and their bodies, according to one lawsuit, involving a Navy surface warfare commanding officer.

The Novavax vaccine would theoretically be an option that does not violate these concerns because it does not use the same technology. However, the armed forces cannot make unvaccinated service members take the Novavax vaccine because it is currently under emergency use authorization, and federal laws prohibit the military from forcing an EUA vaccine on personnel unless the president signs a waiver.

Emergency use authorization, which is not the same as full authorization, allows medical professionals to give the vaccine without full FDA approval during a crisis. The FDA can grant EUA after reviewing the vaccine and trial data.

The FDA also gave EUA to the vaccines produced by Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen. Pfizer and Moderna have also gotten full FDA approval for use in adults, but the vaccine formulas for kids remains at EUA. The military is able to mandate the troops receive the COVID-19 vaccine because there are two options that have full FDA approval, although service members can receive a EUA vaccine if they would rather.

Lawsuits on behalf of service members have made unverified claims that the military is giving out the EUA version of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, not the FDA-approved one.

This argument was cited in a board hearing for Navy Lt. Bill Moseley, who was retained after he fought the service over the vaccine, USNI News previously reported.

Moseley’s attorney, in a statement, said that he was able to prove that the Navy was not giving out the FDA approved version of the Pfizer vaccine.

Like many pieces of disinformation, there is a kernel of truth on which people latch, said Dorit Reiss, professor at University California Hastings Law.

The EUA version of Pfizer’s vaccine and the FDA approved one can be used interchangeably, according to the FDA.

When the vaccine first received FDA licensure, there were still EUA shots being given out because no one wanted to throw away good vaccine doses, Reiss said.

“Even if the specific bottle is still the EUA, the approval should be enough to allow the military [to require it]. It doesn’t make sense to require the company or the military to throw away non expired vials just because they have a different sticker, if the product has been licensed,” Reiss said.

Pfizer did slightly change its formula after receiving licensure and received a second license, she said, although the change did not affect the active ingredient. The second license does not cancel the original one, Reiss said.

Navy Nearing 1,500 COVID-19 Vaccine Separations

The Navy separated 259 sailors for their refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the last month, according to the Navy’s monthly COVID-19 update. Of the total 1,466 separations, 1,121 are active-duty sailors, while 323 are reservists. Another 22 separations are sailors who were in their first 180 days of service. The Navy has the […]

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Robert Moore, assigned to USS George W. Bush (CVN-77) medical department, administers a COVID-19 vaccine at the McCormick Gym onboard Naval Station Norfolk, April 8, 2021. US Navy Photo

The Navy separated 259 sailors for their refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the last month, according to the Navy’s monthly COVID-19 update.

Of the total 1,466 separations, 1,121 are active-duty sailors, while 323 are reservists. Another 22 separations are sailors who were in their first 180 days of service.

The Navy has the second highest number of separations of the Department of Defense military branches. The Marine Corps, which leads the services, has separated more than double the number of service members.

As of the last Marine Corps update, published on June 6, the service had separated 3,069 Marines.

The Army has the third highest, with 1,379 separations, slightly below the Navy, it announced July 22. The Air Force has the fewest separations at 834, according to its July 12 update.

The Navy is not able to separate any sailors who have requested a religious exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine due to a ruling in the Fifth Circuit. The Department of Defense has filed an appeal in the case, according to court records.

The Navy received 3,371 requests for religious waivers from active-duty sailors and 873 from reservists. The service has granted 13 religious accommodations to members of the Individual Ready Reserve on the condition that they get vaccinated if called to active-duty or reserve status.

The sea service also granted 19 permanent and 189 temporary medical exemptions to active-duty sailors. It gave three permanent and 65 temporary medical waivers to reservists.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, there have been 102,697 cases of COVID-19 among sailors, according to the Navy statistics, resulting in 17 deaths.

There are 3,147 active-duty and 3,432 reserve sailors who are unvaccinated.

Navy to Move to Monthly COVID-19 Vaccine Separation Reporting

The Navy will move to monthly reporting of COVID-19 vaccine separations, the sea service announced in its now formerly weekly update. The move comes after two weeks of active-duty separations in the single digits. Over the past two weeks, the Navy separated two active-duty sailors and 25 reservists, according to the update. The latest separations […]

Seaman Apprentice Johnnese Poomaihealani, from Waianae, Hawaii, receives a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot during a shot event in the foc’sle aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) on Jan. 3, 2022. US Navy Photo

The Navy will move to monthly reporting of COVID-19 vaccine separations, the sea service announced in its now formerly weekly update.

The move comes after two weeks of active-duty separations in the single digits. Over the past two weeks, the Navy separated two active-duty sailors and 25 reservists, according to the update.

The latest separations bring the total to 998 active-duty and 209 reservists.

There are 3,371 active-duty sailors and 3,448 reservists who are not fully vaccinated, as mandated by the Department of Defense. This includes sailors with granted or pending exemptions as well as those who have submitted a religious accommodation request.

The Navy cannot currently separate anyone who submitted a religious exemption against the COVID-19 vaccine due to a legal ruling in the Fifth Circuit.

The lack of approved religious exemptions was debated in the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday as congressional members went through the proposed National Defense Authorization Act.

The Navy has approved 45 active-duty requests for religious exemptions, although it is unclear how many of the exemptions were for people who planned to retire or leave the service instead of getting vaccinated.

Among the amendments proposed before HASC was one extending the honorable or general discharge characterization for separations. HASC approved the amendment.

Natural immunity as an alternative has been used in multiple lawsuits against the military branches, including the Navy. It was cited in the case brought against the Navy by Navy SEALs and by a commanding officer who is unvaccinated.

Recently, lawsuits have begun mentioning the idea that the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine, which is marked under brand name Comirnaty, is a different formula than the version of the Pfizer vaccine, which received emergency use authorization.

This was also the reasoning given in a recent board case for Lt. Bill Moseley, whose lawyer wrote in a statement that the Navy found that the two versions were different and that Moseley was only offered the EUA version.

The Navy could not comment on the specifics of the board, but did confirm that Moseley was retained by the Navy.

According to the FDA, Comirnaty and the EUA-version of Pfizer given to those older than 16 are the same. The formula is different for the EUA-version given to those under 16.

“The FDA-approved Comirnaty (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA) and the two EUA-authorized formulations of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for individuals 12 years of age and older, when prepared according to their respective instructions for use, can be used interchangeably,” according to the FDA.

Navy Continues COVID-19 Vaccine Separations as Fourth Vaccine Eyes Conditional FDA Approval

Some sailors have received a COVID-19 vaccine that is developed differently from existing vaccines and could overcome religious objections that have been fought over in federal court. A small percentage of sailors received Novavax COVID-19 while overseas, where the shot is considered approved, said Ed Gulick, a spokesperson for Navy medicine. Novavax is seeking emergency […]

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Gregzon Fontanilla, from Guam, prepares a COVID-19 vaccine aboard the America-class amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7) on May 10, 2022. US Navy Photo

Some sailors have received a COVID-19 vaccine that is developed differently from existing vaccines and could overcome religious objections that have been fought over in federal court.

A small percentage of sailors received Novavax COVID-19 while overseas, where the shot is considered approved, said Ed Gulick, a spokesperson for Navy medicine.

Novavax is seeking emergency use authorization from the FDAA for its version of a COVID-19 vaccine. However, that approval could be delayed, according to Axios. Novavax developed a protein-based vaccine, which is a common method for vaccines, against COVID-19. Some have theorized that those uncomfortable with the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna due to their reliance on a certain line of fetal cells and idea that the mRNA changes their bodies may be more willing to get the Novavax option, according to science journal Nature.

The Navy is continuing to issue separations for sailors who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. As of June 8, the sea service separated 103 sailors, most of whom were the reserve members.

The Navy has so far separated 996 active-duty sailors – 16 between June 2 and June 8 – and 184 reservists – 86 in that week. The Navy also has 22 entry-level separations.

There are 3,866 active-duty sailors and 3,258 reservists who are not fully vaccinated, as of June 8. Some of these sailors are those with approved exemptions or pending ones. The Navy cannot currently separate anyone who filed a request for a religious exemption.

The Navy approved 14 permanent and 206 temporary medical exemptions for active-duty sailors and one permanent and 70 temporary medical waivers for reservists.

The sea service has approved 13 religious exemptions for members of the individual ready reserve on the condition that they get vaccinated if called to reserve or active-duty status.

The Marine Corps leads the services with 2,715 separations, about 1.5 percent of the service’s end strength, according to its June 2 COVID-19 update. The Marines have seven religious exemptions approved, as well as 742 medical and administrative ones.

The Army now has 882 separations, according to its June 10 update. The Air Force has separated 543 service members, according to its June 7 update.

Navy Separated 1,099 Sailors for COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal

Twenty-five more sailors have been separated from the Navy in the last week for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the service. There have now been 1,099 separations for sailors who will not get vaccinated against COVID-19 and do not have a waiver, according to the sea service’s weekly update. Of the sailors […]

Hospitalman Tanner Huffman, assigned to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka Branch Health Clinic Sasebo, administers a COVID-19 vaccine booster during a shot exercise for Japanese Master Labor Contract (MLC), Indirect Hire Agreement (IHA), and MarinerÕs Contract (MC) employees employed at Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo (CFAS) in Japan on Feb. 9, 2022. US Navy Photo

Twenty-five more sailors have been separated from the Navy in the last week for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the service.

There have now been 1,099 separations for sailors who will not get vaccinated against COVID-19 and do not have a waiver, according to the sea service’s weekly update.

Of the sailors who have been separated, 980 were active-duty, 98 were reservists and 22 were sailors in their first 180 days of service, reads the update.

“As of June 1, 2022, 3,906 active component and 3,279 Ready Reserve service members remain unvaccinated,” according to the service.
“There are 3,351 active duty and 864 Ready Reserve requests for a religious accommodation from immunization for the COVID-19 vaccine.”

The Navy cannot currently separate anyone who applied for a religious exemption due to a ruling in a federal lawsuit in Texas.

The service has approved 14 permanent and 213 temporary medical exemptions for active-duty sailors and one permanent and 78 temporary medical waivers for reservists.

The service has also approved 13 religious exemptions for members of the Individual Ready Reserve on the condition that they get vaccinated if called to reserve or active-duty status.

 

Navy Separates More Than a 1,000 Sailors for COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal

The Navy exceeded 1,000 separations due to sailors’ continued refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The service has now approved 1,074 separations for sailors who will not get vaccinated against COVID-19 and do not have a waiver, according to the sea service’s weekly update. The Navy cannot currently separate anyone who applied for a religious […]

Hospitalman Joseph Sanchez, assigned to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka Branch Health Clinic Sasebo, administers a COVID-19 vaccine booster during a shot exercise for Japanese Master Labor Contract (MLC), Indirect Hire Agreement (IHA), and MarinerÕs Contract (MC) employees employed at Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo (CFAS) on Feb. 9, 2022. US Navy Photo

The Navy exceeded 1,000 separations due to sailors’ continued refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The service has now approved 1,074 separations for sailors who will not get vaccinated against COVID-19 and do not have a waiver, according to the sea service’s weekly update. The Navy cannot currently separate anyone who applied for a religious exemption due to a ruling in a federal lawsuit.

The Navy separated 98 sailors over the past week. Of the sailors who have been separated, 954 were active-duty, 98 were reservists and 22 were sailors in their first 180 days of service.

The Navy has approved 14 permanent and 213 temporary medical exemptions for active-duty sailors and one permanent and 78 temporary medical waivers for reservists.

The service has also approved 13 religious exemptions for members of the Individual Ready Reserve on the condition that they get vaccinated if called to reserve or active-duty status.

Navy Nearing 1,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Denial Separations

The Navy is inching toward 1,000 separations due to COVID-19 vaccine denial, with the sea service approving separations for another 56 sailors over the past week. The Navy currently has 980 total separations due to continued refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the service’s weekly COVID-19 update. Of the separations, 861 are active-duty […]

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Gregzon Fontanilla, from Guam, prepares a COVID-19 vaccine aboard the America-class amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli (LHA-7) on May 10, 2022. US Navy Photo

The Navy is inching toward 1,000 separations due to COVID-19 vaccine denial, with the sea service approving separations for another 56 sailors over the past week.

The Navy currently has 980 total separations due to continued refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the service’s weekly COVID-19 update. Of the separations, 861 are active-duty sailors, while 97 are reservists. The total also includes 22 entry-level separations for sailors within their first 180 days of service.

The current separations are sailors who who have not applied for religious exemptions, as the Navy is currently suspended from separating anyone who requested a religious waiver for the vaccine due to a court ruling. However, any of the separations before the court ruling on March 28 could have included those who had requested a religious exemption and were denied.

The Navy had approved 37 religious exemptions for sailors who were going to retire or voluntarily separate from the service, but those cases were put on hold as a result of the court ruling.

The sea service has also granted 13 religious exemptions for members of the Individual Ready Reserve on the condition that they get vaccinated if called to active-duty or reserve status.

The Navy has also granted 14 permanent and 214 temporary medical exemptions for active-duty sailors and one permanent and 81 temporary medical waivers for reservists.