U.S. Air Force Has a 97 Percent Vaccine Rate for Active Duty Troops

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Politics|U.S. Air Force hits its vaccine deadline with astir each troops vaccinated.


U.S. Air Force troops helping tally  a coronavirus vaccination tract  successful  Houston successful  February. The vaccine deadline for that subdivision  of work  arrived with 97 percent of progressive  work  troops having had astatine  slightest  1  shot.
Credit...Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Jennifer Steinhauer

  • Nov. 3, 2021, 4:30 p.m. ET

Almost 97 percent of active-duty members of the Air Force — the archetypal subdivision of the U.S. subject to scope its deadline for coronavirus vaccinations — person received astatine slightest 1 dose of vaccine, subject officials said Wednesday. That percent is successful enactment with those for active-duty subject members successful astir branches of work whose deadlines person not yet arrived.

Though the 10,636 Air Force members who stay unvaccinated are lone a tiny sliver of the branch’s 326,855 active-duty troops, they inactive correspond a ample fig of radical to beryllium facing imaginable expulsion for failing to comply with the vaccine mandate the Pentagon issued successful August.

Many of them person requests pending for an exemption of immoderate kind.

Some 4,933 troops person sought a spiritual exemption, but truthful far, not a azygous subordinate of the subject has been granted one. A smaller fig person been fixed an administrative exemption — for example, due to the fact that they are readying to permission the subject soon —  and others person received aesculapian exemptions, immoderate of which could beryllium reversed if their aesculapian information changed. The Air Force said it would instrumentality 30 days to reappraisal each pending exemption requests.

For the subject arsenic a whole, astir 97 percent of active-duty forces person had astatine slightest 1 dose of vaccine, and astir 88 percent are afloat vaccinated. The Navy leads the charge, with astir 99 percent having astatine slightest 1 dose. When the National Guard and Reserves are included arsenic well, though, they resistance down the figures considerably, with lone 69 percent of each forces afloat vaccinated. In the Marines, for example, 86 percent of active-duty troops are afloat vaccinated, but lone 52 percent of Reserve troops are.

The vaccination deadline for the Navy and Marines arrives aboriginal this month. The Army, the largest work branch, has acceptable a day successful mid-December. Members of the Guard and Reserves successful each branches volition besides beryllium fixed much time. Civilian Pentagon employees are required to beryllium afloat vaccinated by Nov. 22.

Refusing the vaccine without an exemption is grounds for expulsion from the military, but Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III has fixed commanders wide latitude to determine however to coax, cajole and yet punish those who won’t get shots.

“Each lawsuit is going to beryllium treated specifically and individually, arsenic it ought to be,” John Kirby, a spokesperson for Mr. Austin, said this week. “Can we committedness you that determination volition beryllium implicit uniformity crossed the board? No.”

Vaccine reluctance successful the subject and the Department of Veterans Affairs mirrors that successful civilian society, wherever vaccination rates are mostly little among radical who bash not look a strict vaccine mandate.

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