More than 10,000 active-duty airmen have a week to get vaccinated

More than 10,000 active-duty airmen have a week to get vaccinated
·3 min read

Thousands of active-duty airmen in the U.S. Air Force who are currently unvaccinated have exactly one week to get inoculated for the coronavirus.

The Air Force set a deadline of Nov. 2 for all active-duty personnel to get the vaccine, but a service member is not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after he or she has received the second dose of a two-shot COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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That means each active-duty member of the Air Force has to get that final shot by Oct. 19 — a week from Tuesday. At this point, given the necessary period of time between doses for the two-dose vaccines, any service member who is not partially or fully vaccinated now has to get the Johnson & Johnson shot to comply with the mandate before the deadline arrives.

To date, approximately 86.5% of active-duty airmen are fully vaccinated, while another 9.4% are partially vaccinated, according to data published by the Air Force. That leaves slightly more than 30,000 airmen who need to get their second dose.

The remaining roughly 4% of airmen, roughly 13,200 service members, are unvaccinated and need to receive the single-dose COVID-19 vaccine within a week in order to comply with the order.

"An Airman or Guardian who is not vaccinated by Nov. 2 will be in violation of a lawful general order and subject to discipline under Article 92, UCMJ," Technical Sargeant Deana M. Heitzman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Air Force, told the Washington Examiner. "Even if a service member has stated they will refuse the vaccination, the order would not be violated until the deadline passes."

In the Department of the Air Force’s Sept. 3 announcement, the department warned airmen that “any refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, absent an approved exemption or accommodation, may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

"Military commanders retain the full range of disciplinary options available to them under the UCMJ," the statement added, and Heitzman noted that commanders "must consult with their servicing Staff Judge Advocate for additional guidance on vaccination non-compliance."

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby reiterated in Tuesday's briefing that "commanders will try to get these troops to make the right decision based on information and education, and for somebody that refuses, they'll be given a chance to get more context from medical service providers, as well as their change of command."

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Kirby declined to answer what the consequences will be for the airmen who refuse to get vaccinated by the deadline, while the Air Force did not respond to requests for comment.

Each military branch has come up with its own deadline for active-duty and reserve troops to get the vaccine, and the Air Force's Nov. 2 deadline is the earliest among them.

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Tags: News, Coronavirus, Vaccination, Air Force, Pentagon

Original Author: Mike Brest

Original Location: More than 10,000 active-duty airmen have a week to get vaccinated

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