4 Air Force Academy cadets may not graduate to refuse Covid vaccine

WASHINGTON – Four Air Force Academy cadets may not graduate or be assigned to military service this month because they have given up on the Covid-19 vaccine and may be required to pay back thousands of dollars in tuition, according to Air Force officials. .

This is the only military academy where cadets can be fined. The Fleet said none of their seniors were currently allowed to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, or the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, for refusing the vaccine. The graduations are in about two weeks.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last year mandated vaccination of Covid-19 for servicemen. including those in military academies, saying the vaccine could be used for military training and health.

Military leaders say for decades, troops have been required to receive up to 17 vaccines to protect the health of troops, especially those stationed abroad. Students arriving at a military academy are vaccinated on their first day, for example, measles, mumps, or rubella if they have not yet been vaccinated. And they get regular flu shots in the fall.

Members of Congress, the military և The public have questioned whether the review of the exceptions by the military was fair. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the mandate, mainly focusing on the fact that very few servicemen have been granted religious exemption from shooting.

Prior to the Covid-19 vaccine, very few military personnel sought religious exceptions to any vaccine.

Lt. Col. Brian Maguire, a spokesman for the Air Force Academy, said that vaccination status could prevent four-year-olds from graduating, “there are still two weeks until graduation, so their status may change as cadets consider their options.”

According to Maguire, the four unnamed cadets were informed of the possible consequences and met with the academy inspector. In addition to the four, there are two juniors, one sophomore’s six freshmen who have also given up the vaccine.

Military academies have for years required students to reimburse tuition fees under certain circumstances if they leave their junior or senior year. Often these include students with disciplinary problems or similar problems. Expenses can be up to $ 200,000 or more, and any final decision on repayment is made by the Secretary of Service.

West Point said there were no 2022 class members who had given up the vaccine.

The entire army, navy, air force and naval corps fired about 4,000 active-duty personnel for refusing the vaccine. According to the latest data released by the Services, more than 2,100 Marines, 900 sailors, 500 Army soldiers, 360 pilots have been discharged from the army, and at least 50 have been demobilized during the initial level training before entering active service.

Those who categorically refuse the vaccine without looking for an exception are still being discharged. However, the courts stopped the additional release of servicemen who applied for religious freedom.

Last month, a Texas federal judge banned the Navy from taking action against sailors who opposed vaccination on religious grounds.

U.S. District Judge Reid O’Connor issued a preliminary ruling in January that barred the Navy from disciplining or dismissing 35 sailors who had filed a Navy vaccination policy pending trial. In April, O’Connor agreed that the case could be pursued as a collective action; he issued a preliminary injunction against some 4,000 sailors who had been vaccinated against religious grounds.

Last month, an Ohio federal judge issued a preliminary ruling blocking dozens of officers, some additional pilots and reservists seeking disciplinary action from the Air Force. The officers, mostly from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, sued in February after their dismissal applications were rejected.

According to the military, about 20,000 servicemen have applied for religious benefits. Thousands of people have been denied.

According to the latest data, the Air Force has confirmed 73 religious exceptions, the Marine Corps has confirmed seven, and the Army – eight. Prior to the order, the Navy conditionally approved պահ 26 active duty requests for religious freedom per reservist, և 10 inquiries from members of the Individual Ready Reserve. IRR approvals mean that these sailors should not be vaccinated until they have actually been called up for service.

About 99% of the active-duty navy – 98% of the Air Force, Marine Corps – received at least one shot.

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