Politics

Military: Crisis as Hundreds of Thousands Refuse Vaxx

Hundreds of thousands of U.S. service members remain unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated against the coronavirus as the Pentagon’s first compliance deadlines near, with lopsided rates across the individual services and a spike in deaths among military reservists illustrating how political division over the shots has seeped into a nonpartisan force with unambiguous orders…

Military officials may have other concerns that limit how aggressively they push reservists to comply with the vaccine mandate, including lessons learned from past attempts to do so, said Trupti Brahmbhatt, a senior policy researcher and military health expert at the Rand Corporation.

The Air Force experienced significant blowback following Pentagon requirements for anthrax vaccine regimens 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 units either sought a transfer to another unit to delay or avoid the process, switched to an inactive status or left duty altogether, the report found…

Defense officials have been reluctant to predict how many service members may defy the vaccine mandate. Read more…

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