On Tuesday, the Pentagon stated that it would continue to adhere to its COVID-19 vaccine mandate despite President Joe Biden declaring the pandemic “over”.
Republican lawmakers claim that the Biden Administration’s requirement for all military personnel to be fully vaccinated is actually affecting readiness. It is also affecting recruitment and retention of current troops.
The Pentagon faces a major recruitment crisis and may lose thousands of troops who refuse to follow the vaccine mandate. These troops could be expelled involuntarily or forced from the military.
As first reported by Breitbart News, he was joined by Reps. Chip Roy and Thomas Massie (both from Texas) to press Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for the lifting of the vaccine mandate.
Nearly 8,000 American servicemen have been involuntarily discharged by the Pentagon. Tens of thousands more are still waiting for adjudication on their exemption requests from the vaccine due to religious or medical reasons.
DoD Inspector General Sean W. O’Donnell warned Austin that Austin may not be complying with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act after a large number of religious exemption requests were denied.
Federal courts have also prohibited the punishment of sailors, airmen, and Marines who challenge the Pentagon’s mandate regarding the possible violation of their religious freedoms.
According to Pentagon statistics, 442691 service personnel have contracted coronavirus so far. 95 of these service members have died.
In a letter to Austin, the Republican legislators argued that young soldiers with healthy immune systems have almost no chance of dying from coronavirus. They also argued that vaccines against Omicron strains are negligible or even harmful.