Nearly 12,000 Air Force Personnel Not Vaccinated by Deadline – Readiness Could be Affected

air force personnel
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jovan Banks

The US Air Force has 324,000 members and is the 3rd largest military branch. This coming Tuesday is the deadline for USAF service members to be vaccinated. The Washington Post reported that nearly 12,000 Air Force Personnel have not received the vaccine and it’s too late to start the process now in order to complete it before the deadline. Military officials are concerned that losing such a large group, which includes some of their elite pilots, will seriously affect readiness. The Air Force deadline is nearly a month prior to that of the other branches, and they’ll miss it.

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The Air Force could lose thousands of troops in the coming weeks as over 11,000 active-duty personnel remain without a COVID-19 vaccine, just days before the deadline to get one.

Some 96.4 percent of active-duty airmen were partially or fully vaccinated as of Oct. 25, the branch said in its latest vaccination update.

That means approximately 11,462 airmen have not begun a vaccination program before the Nov. 2 deadline to become fully vaccinated.

Another nearly 12,000 reserve personnel or Space Force members remain unvaccinated, according to data released by the Air Force. Reserves have until Dec. 2 to become fully vaccinated.

The Epoch Times

According to Defense One, as of October 18, the Air Force had 43,298 cases of Covid; six airmen died and 21 were hospitalized. The Air Force plans to release exemption data after their deadline. As of October 18, neither the Army nor the Marine Corps have granted any religious exemptions, and the Army has granted only one medical exemption. The Active Duty Navy and Marine Corps deadline is November 28.

All of those who recovered now have natural immunity… but the mandate does not include natural immunity. Those who have missed the deadline now face discharge, or court martial. The issue is that this is service wide, not just the Air Force. Even if the percentage points are low, the NUMBER of troops it covers is larger – up to 46,000 service members, although some of those will likely get vaccinated. The Navy and Marine Corps have stated they will discharge those who do not comply.

The recent court ruling barred the military from firing any service member who has a religious exemption pending. But if the service branch refuses to grant such exemptions, US readiness could be compromised. that’s particularly true if some of those refusing the vaccine happen to be some of our nation’s best pilots.

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Featured screenshot: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jovan Banks

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