Navy releases discharge details for those who decline to receive COVID-19 vaccine

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Candy Taylor, 633 Medical Group medical technician, prepares a COVID-19 Vaccination appointment card at Joint Base Langley Eustis, Virginia, January 8th, 2021. The appointment cards state the date and time the vaccine was administered; as well as the projected follow up-date. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ericha Fitzgerald)

Dave Ress

Daily Press

Sailors who missed getting their final dose of COVID-19 vaccine by Sunday’s deadline will be forced out of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Personnel said.

They will leave the Navy with a general discharge, which could mean the loss of eligibility for some Veterans Administration benefits.

On Monday, the Navy directed commands to start preparing for administrative separations for any Navy service members refusing the vaccine in their ranks. The service is reviewing applications for religious or medical exemptions.

Within thirty days after refusing the vaccine, commands are to issue adverse fitness reports and evaluations documenting service members’ failure to obey the order to get vaccinated. That step means pending promotions and pay increases are revoked, while unvaccinated personnel must repay the portion of any bonuses and special or incentive pay that have not yet been earned.

Those sailors are not subject to discharge during this review. If their exemption applications are denied, sailors will have five days to start getting vaccinated, which can involve two separate doses and a two-week waiting period after the final dose. Commanders can temporarily reassign these sailors.

The Air Force has said airmen who aren’t fully vaccinated by its Nov. 2 deadline will face disciplinary action, to be determined by the first colonel in an airman’s chain of command who has the authority to convene a special court martial, as well as the judge advocate general staff.

The Army’s vaccination deadline is Dec. 15.

Dave Ress, 757-247-4535,

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