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Deadline awaits unvaccinated Air Force personnel

29 Oct. 2021 – The Air Force will have to decide in the coming weeks how to discipline about 12,000 pilots who have rejected orders to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The deadline for pilots to be fully vaccinated is Tuesday, November 2nd. Those who have not been vaccinated may face escalating levels of discipline, including being kicked out of service or prosecuted in the military’s legal system.

Readiness issues could arise if the Air Force has to discipline a large number of unvaccinated pilots in vital positions, such as pilots, said Katherine L. Kuzminski, a military policy expert at the Center for New American Security. The Washington Post.

“The fact that it is a choice that leads to potential loss of readiness is striking,” she said.

The Air Force has about 324,000 active duty pilots and says more than 96% of them have been fully vaccinated. Some of them may be seeking religious exemptions, but Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told the Post that in general a very small number of such exemptions are granted in the army.

How the air force handles the deadline is being closely monitored by other branches of the U.S. military that have later vaccination deadlines, the newspaper reported.

Kirby said about 87% of active duty troops have been fully vaccinated, but hesitation among reservists and members of the National Guard brings the overall vaccination level to about 68%.

Judge stops firing for vaccine mandate violations temporarily

A federal judge in Washington, DC, on Thursday issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Biden administration from firing active-duty military personnel and civilian federal employees while their requests for religious exemptions from vaccine mandates are being considered or appealed, Fox News reports.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled after 20 people sued Biden over his Sept. 9 executive order. vaccinations for federal employees.

NYC vaccine mandate ratified in court

A judge has rejected a request from the New York Police Department that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate be suspended, reports CBS News.

De Blasio’s order says all city employees, including first-responders, must be fully vaccinated by Friday, otherwise they could face disciplinary action, including dismissal from their jobs.

The Police Benevolent Association has requested a temporary restraining order, saying city policy does not provide adequate religious or medical exemptions and does not give unvaccinated officers enough time to apply for exemptions, CBS News said.

Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Police Charitable Association, said in a statement that the ruling “sets the city up for a real crisis” because it would result in fewer officers being available to work.

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