US Navy Issues Guidelines For Booting Vaccine Refusers

Via press release from the US Naval Command:

Sailors must be prepared to execute their mission at all times, in places throughout the world, including where vaccination rates are low and disease transmission is high. Immunizations are of paramount importance to protecting the health of the force and the warfighting readiness of the Fleet.

“To date, over 98 percent of active-duty U.S. Navy service members have met our readiness responsibility by completing or initiating a COVID-19 vaccination series, ensuring the continued readiness of our worldwide deployable Navy” said Adm. William Lescher, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, in the message.

The Navy’s policy goal is to achieve a fully vaccinated force against the persistent and lethal threat of COVID-19.

Administrative actions may begin as soon as a Navy service member meets the definition of “refusing the vaccine”, which is a Navy service member who received a lawful order to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, is not or will not be fully vaccinated on the date required by the order, and does not have a pending or approved exemption request.

Effective immediately upon the release of the message, commands shall not allow Sailors refusing the vaccine to promote or advance, reenlist, or execute orders, with the exception of separation orders, until the CCDA has completed disposition of their case. Transfer orders may be cancelled by Navy Personnel Command.

For officers and enlisted serving in Navy leadership roles refusing the vaccine, they will be notified immediately in writing that they have five days to either begin a vaccination series or request an exemption before being relieved and have detachment for cause initiated.

For Navy service members refusing the vaccine, the CCDA also retains the authority for administrative processes regarding removal of warfare qualifications, additional qualification designations (AQD), Navy Enlisted Classifications (NEC), or sub-specialties, except in cases where removal authority is otherwise authorized by law or Executive Order.

The CCDA may also seek recoupment of applicable bonuses, special and incentive pays, and the cost of training and education for service members refusing the vaccine.

Those separated only for vaccine refusal will receive no lower than a general discharge under honorable conditions. This type of discharge could result in the loss of some veterans’ benefits.