30,000 military troops remain unvaccinated after mandate deadline passes

With the military COVID vaccine mandate deadline in the rearview mirror, there are still 12,000...
With the military COVID vaccine mandate deadline in the rearview mirror, there are still 12,000 service members across the military that remain unvaccinated. (U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr./Department of Defense via AP)(Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson | AP)
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 7:09 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - With the military COVID vaccine mandate deadline in the rearview mirror, there are still 12,000 service members across the military that remain unvaccinated.

For these service members, refusing the vaccine and other incidents on their record will result in the military discharging them out of the service, despite filing for religious exemptions.

“The military is really looking at the risk for their employees,” said Amy Mersiovsky, director of nursing for Texas A&M Central Texas.

Thankfully, lawmakers have ensured that no service member will be dishonorably discharged under the defense authorization bill. A lawsuit also remains for those service members still seeking religious exemption.

However, even after leaving the service with a good record, Mersiovsky says many companies may think twice about hiring them when they find out their vaccination status.

“It may depend on the requirements for the job they’re looking into,” she said.

“For instance, in healthcare, there’s the Medicare and Medicaid clause that those institutions require their employees to be vaccinated. Many other employers are also urging their employees to be vaccinated because they’re looking to decrease their risks if employees get sick and it can be traced back to work.”

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is also set to hold a special hearing next month to assess the legality of President Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees.

Regardless, Mersiovsky adds while she respects anyone’s personal medical decisions, she still highly recommends getting vaccinated, especially with the Omicron variant spreading quickly.

“Do your research,” she said.

“Talk to reliable healthcare professionals and look at reliable healthcare sources. If you decide to get the vaccine, good for you. Just make sure you make an informed decision. Just think about how much better you’re going to be if you do get an infection and how much you’re protecting others.”

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