Thousands of troops already discharged for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine won’t return to service after Congress’ last-minute defense bill sought to overturn the Pentagon’s mandate.
The Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps have separated at least 8,400 active duty and reserve troops for spurning the Department of Defense’s (DOD) August 2021 requirement that all servicemembers receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to information the DOD provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation. While the compromise legislation released late Tuesday directs the Pentagon to rescind the mandate, it stops short of requiring the military to restore discharged troops to their prior positions or provide reparations.
The New York City Department of Education has fired another 850 teachers and aides for refusing to comply with its COVID vaccine mandate, bringing the total number of school staff terminated over the mRNA shots that have not prevented the spread of infection to 2,000.
Some 1,300 department employees agreed to comply with the vaccine mandate by September 5 after taking a year of unpaid leave with benefits, the New York Post reported. The department informed personnel they would have to be vaccinated by that date or be “deemed to have voluntarily resigned.”
The nation’s first class action lawsuit for healthcare workers fighting COVID vaccine mandates has led to a $10.3 million settlement agreement, filed Friday, for the workers who were denied religious exemptions from the COVID shot mandate and terminated when they did not comply.
Liberty Counsel settled the lawsuit on behalf of more than 500 current and former healthcare workers from NorthShore University HealthSystem in Illinois who argued they were victims of religious discrimination.
The Navy cannot force service members with religious objections to COVID-19 vaccines to take them so long as the exemption process remains “by all accounts … theater,” a federal judge ruled Monday.
“Our nation asks the men and women in our military to serve, suffer, and sacrifice. But we do not ask them to lay aside their citizenry and give up the very rights they have sworn to protect,” U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor wrote in approving a preliminary injunction against the mandate as applied to the 35 service members who sued.
“Every president since the signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has praised the men and women of the military for their bravery and service in protecting the freedoms this country guarantees,” O’Connor said.