Air Force discharges 27 who defied COVID mandate

More than 1,000 Air Force personnel have refused the vaccine while more than 4,700 are seeking an exemption on religious grounds, AP reports. 

Updated: December 13, 2021 - 6:02pm

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The U.S. Air Force has discharged 27 service members who refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by Nov. 2 in compliance with the Department of Defense mandate.

Forty Air Force and Space Force recruits reportedly were forced to leave training in October after refusing to receive the vaccine. Officials believe this is the first case of fully enlisted members being discharged for disobeying the mandate, but this time, those removed were in their first enlistment term, according to The Associated Press (AP).

The 27 now-former Air Force members failed to seek any type of exemption – medical, administrative or religious – and were formally removed for failing to obey an order, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said on Monday.

More than 1,000 Air Force personnel have refused the vaccine while more than 4,700 are seeking an exemption on religious grounds, AP reports. 

Officials say that the Air Force appears to be in more advanced stages in the vaccine mandate process than other branches of the armed services.