On Tuesday, the U.S. Air Force announced that it had rejected approximately 2,130 requests from service members for a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, as reported by the Daily Caller.
“More than 10,000 requests from across the Total Force have been received,” the Air Force’s statement read, “of which approximately 2,100 have been disapproved due to military readiness considerations.”
The decisions were largely made by the Air Force’s new “Religious Resolution Teams,” groups which consist of alleged “experts” who conduct such reviews on an individual basis in order to determine “the least restrictive means possible to accommodate a sincerely held belief without putting mission accomplishment at risk.”
The Air Force was among the first branches of the military to enact vaccine requirements, setting a deadline of November 2nd and currently reporting a vaccination rate of approximately 95 percent. It was also the first to take action against those who refused, discharging 27 such members in early December.
The U.S. Marine Corps’ standards are even stricter, having announced on December 16th that out of 3,144 members who applied for a religious exemption, 2,863 were denied, making for a rejection rate of 91 percent. Since then, 103 members of the Marine Corps have been discharged due to refusing to take the vaccine.
All branches of the military are acting under the orders of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who ordered that the vaccine would be mandatory for all members of the armed services. There is currently an ongoing lawsuit against the Department of Defense over the requirement, filed by a group of sailors and Navy SEALs.