The U.S. Department of Defense has put a stop to its coronavirus vaccine mandate targeting the members of the U.S. Military in the wake of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) stepping up to force an end to the program this past month when the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the yearly defense policy bill, officially passed.
Lloyd Austin, the Secretary of Defense, stated via a memo released this past Tuesday that he had finally rescinded the vaccine mandate order issued for both the U.S. Military and the National Guard.
“No individuals currently serving in the Armed Forces shall be separated solely on the basis of their refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccination if they sought an accommodation on religious, administrative, or medical grounds,” explained the memo. “The Military Departments will update the records of such individuals to remove any adverse actions solely associated with denials of such requests, including letters of reprimand.”
“The Secretaries of the Military Departments will further cease any ongoing reviews of current Service member religious, administrative, or medical accommodation requests solely for exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine or appeals of denials of such requests,” the memo went on. “Religious liberty is a foundational principle of enduring importance in America, enshrined in our Constitution and other sources of Federal law. Service members have the right to observe the tenets of their religion or to observe no religion at all, as provided in applicable Federal law and Departmental policy.”
Austin explained that any Service members who had been discharged because of their stance against taking the vaccine can now issue a petition against their Military Department’s Discharge Review Boards and Boards for Correction of Military or Naval Records to request a correction to the characterization of their discharge.
Back when he served as the House Minority Leader, McCarthy put a stop to the end of the vaccine mandate last month after he stated that the NDAA would “not move” until the odd mandate was taken out of the bill.
“The end of President Biden’s military COVID vaccine mandate is a victory for our military and for common sense,” explained McCarthy as part of a statement this past month. “Last week, I told the president directly: it’s time to end the COVID vaccine mandate and rehire our service members.”
“Unfortunately, the mandate has already had negative consequences for our military: The Army and Navy missed their 2022 recruitment goals by thousands of service members,” the statement went on. “And, at the direction of the Biden administration, the Defense Department discharged 3,300 Marines, 1,800 soldiers, 1,800 sailors, and 900 airmen simply based on their personal decision to not take the COVID vaccine.”
McCarthy also issued a demand of the administration to “correct service records and not stand in the way of re- enlisting any service member discharged simply for not taking the COVID vaccine.”