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.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s alleged use of an automated system to deny religious waivers to as many as 1,231 servicemembers would be in violation of the law, attorneys told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Wednesday.
Leaders from each of the military branches, including the Coast Guard, are required to individually review vaccine exemption requests, legal experts who have worked on military vaccine exemption cases told the DCNF. An investigation by members of the House Oversight Committee found that the Coast Guard used a computer-based tool defaulted to issue mass denials of religious accommodations, Fox News first reported Tuesday, a practice that is in “clear” violation of federal law, attorneys said.
Some 4,800 state employees in Washington have already requested medical or religious exemptions from Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
According to information released this week by the state, those requests amount to nearly 8% of the 60,000 state workers who fall under Inslee’s 24 cabinet departments. As of Sept. 6, less than 50% of all employees in those agencies were verified as being fully vaccinated.
Inslee last month issued an executive order that all state employees, as well as K-12 and state university staff, must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face dismissal.