With vaccination deadlines fast approaching, hundreds of thousands of US service members remain either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the Washington Post.
The Navy has been most compliant with President Biden’s July edict that the nation’s 2.1 million troops take the jab. According to the report, 98% of active duty seamen have gotten at least one shot, while 90% are fully vaccinated. That’s in stark contrast to the Marines, where just 72% are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, over 60,000 Air Force personnel have just three weeks to meet the DoD’s Nov. 2 deadline.
Among the Army Guard and Reserve – which have until June 2022 to come into compliance, under 40% are fully vaccinated.
“We expect all unvaccinated soldiers to receive the vaccine as soon as possible. Individual soldiers are required to receive the vaccine when available,” said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Terence M. Kelley, adding that the June deadlines “allow reserve component units necessary time to update records and process exemption requests.”
The military is balancing Biden’s edict with historical pushback to mandatory vaccines – stemming in part from a backfired Anthrax vaccine regimen in the late 1990s.
The mandate “adversely” affected the “retention of trained and experienced guard and reserve pilots,” according to a Government Accountability Office sample survey cited in a 2002 report. About 16 percent of pilots and crew members in reserve unitseither sought a transfer to another unit to delay or avoid the process, switched to an inactive status or left duty altogether, the report found.
“The Army probably does not want to risk those retention problems,” Brahmbhatt said. -WaPo