Security & Defense

3 Air Force cadets denied commission over vaccine refusal

WASHINGTON (Transatlantic Today) — The US Air Force Academy announced Saturday that 3 cadets who declined the COVID-19 vaccine would not be commissioned as military officials but will get bachelor’s degrees instead. 

Dean Miller, a spokesperson at the Academy, stated that a 4th cadet who also had rejected the vaccine until recently opted to get it and will graduate as well as become an Air Force officer. 

The Air Force is the only defense institution where cadets are not getting commissioned owing to vaccine rejection as of Saturday. According to ABC NEWS, nearly 1,000 Military cadets at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, graduated and were commissioned as officers early during the day. 

Vaccine rejections are not preventing any Marine Corps or Navy seniors from commissioning, according to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on Saturday. The Air Force event is on Wednesday in Colorado, and the graduation ceremony is later this week. The US Air Force Academy Board completed its routine assessment as to if this year’s class had fulfilled all requirements for graduation on Friday, prior to the ceremony. 

Last year, Secretary Of Defense Lloyd Austin, who will address the Air Force graduation ceremony, made COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all service personnel, even those in the military schools, citing the vaccine’s importance in sustaining military preparedness and force health. 

Military authorities have stated that troops have been obliged to receive as many as 17 vaccinations in order to maintain their health, especially those deployed overseas, for years. If students are not already vaccinated, they will receive a series of doses upon their first day at the military schools, including mumps, rubella, and measles. They also get flu vaccines every year in the fall. 

Congress members, the military, and the general public have disputed whether the military services’ exemption assessments were fair. Several cases have been brought against the order, with the major focus on the fact that only a small number of service personnel have been allowed religious exemptions from the vaccinations. 

Until the COVID-19 vaccine, few military personnel sought religious exemptions from vaccinations. 

An Air Force Academy spokesperson, Lt. Col. Brian Maguire, said sometime ago that all 4 cadets had been warned of the possible implications and had spoken with the academy’s superintendent. He also mentioned that they had time until graduation to reconsider their stance, which one of them did. 

For decades, military institutions have compelled students to return tuition fees if they quit in their junior or senior year under certain situations. Students with behavioral troubles or other challenges are frequently involved in these cases. The fees can go as high as $200,000 or more, and the service secretary makes the final decision on repayment. 

The Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, and Navy have all discharged up to 4,000 active service personnel for refusing to take the vaccine. Those who refuse the vaccine outright without obtaining an exemption are nevertheless released. However, subsequent dismissal of service members seeking religious exemptions have been halted by the courts. 

20,000 service personnel have requested religious exemptions, according to the military. Thousands of people have been rejected. 

Approximately 98% of active service Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force personnel, as well as 99% of active duty Navy personnel, have received their first dose.

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