Despite the Department of Defense rescinding the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, unvaccinated military members are still facing repercussions, including denied benefits, ineligibility for promotion, being non-deployable, and potentially diminished employment prospects for those already discharged.
On Dec. 23, President Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the $858 billion defense spending bill that included a measure repealing the mandate. On Dec. 29, the Defense Department followed suit, rescinding the mandate that has frayed military morale and resulted in the discharge of over 8,000 service members who refused the vaccine.
In rescinding the vaccine mandate, the DOD acknowledged the NDAA requires Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to rescind his Aug. 24, 2021 memo issuing the sweeping order.
While the Biden administration has officially reversed the military COVID-19 vaccination mandate, servicemembers who escaped discharge for refusing the vaccine still risk retaliation and could be booted anyway, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Ongoing class action lawsuits thwarted the military’s efforts to discharge thousands of troops who objected to the mandate before the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law Friday, overturned it. However, servicemembers may risk reprisal even after the deadline passes for the Department of Defense (DOD) to implement the repeal, staining the records of thousands of servicemembers for the remainder of their careers, experts explained to the DCNF.
A U.S. Army pilot who reluctantly received a COVID-19 vaccination has been reprimanded and denied promotion — and could still face discharge and the loss of his wings — after questioning the vaccine and filing complaints about allegedly biased investigations of him, according to his wife and her attorney.
Jessica Hill-Budge, the wife of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brandon Budge in the 7th Infantry Division’s 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, told Just the News that her husband is likely to lose his nearly 20-year military career due to improperly conducted official investigations of his case.
West Point Military Academy cadets were denied their Religious Accommodation Request appeals to the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate en masse on Wednesday but were not informed until Friday afternoon, when they were given 24 hours to respond, according to attorney R. Davis Younts.
A Developmental Counseling Form that was given to a cadet notes that the religious objector’s RAR appeal was denied on Wednesday and the date that cadet received counseling regarding the vaccine mandate was Friday. The form says that the objector has until 4 p.m. on Saturday to make a plan to receive the vaccine.