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Obligatory Vaccination

In latest months, the Division of the Navy (DON) has taken important steps to counter the continued menace posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the well being and security of the Fleet. On 31 Aug 2021, NAVADMIN 190/21 introduced the Navy’s necessary COVID-19 vaccination coverage. The NAVADMIN carried out a 24 Aug 2021 memorandum from the Secretary of Protection requiring vaccination in opposition to COVID-19 for all DoD service members. Navy Sailors can be totally vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 with vaccines which have acquired Meals and Drug Administration licensure or via the voluntary administration of vaccines below FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or World Well being Group (WHO) Emergency Use Itemizing. The NAVADMIN set agency deadlines for vaccination: Sailors on lively obligation had been required to be vaccinated by 28 November 2021, whereas reservists had been required to be compliant by 28 December 2021. The Navy’s definition of “totally vaccinated” required service members to be a minimum of two weeks previous their second shot (or two weeks previous their vaccine date for a single-dose vaccine like Johnson & Johnson) by the deadline to be compliant with the NAVADMIN.

Whereas the 31 Aug NAVADMIN offered Sailors with readability in regards to the deadline for full vaccination, it left a number of necessary questions unanswered, together with what would in the end occur to service members who continued to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine or wouldn’t be vaccinated by the necessary deadline. Additional, whereas the NAVADMIN did clarify that these Sailors’ instances can be dealt with by a delegated COVID Consolidated Disposition Authority (CCDA) with entry to the total vary of administrative and disciplinary responses, the NAVADMIN didn’t point out who the CCDA can be, or how the Navy supposed to handle service members who continued to refuse the vaccine.

Disciplinary Penalties

Sailors gained further perception into the processes and disciplinary penalties related to continued vaccine refusal on 14 Oct 2021, when the Navy launched NAVADMIN 225/21. This NAVADMIN recognized the Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) because the CCDA, and clarified that any Navy service member who refused the COVID-19 vaccine and was not totally vaccinated by the relevant deadline, absent a pending or accredited vaccination exemption request, can be processed for administrative separation. All separation proceedings related to COVID-19 vaccine refusal can be centralized below the CCDA, aside from Entry Degree Separations (ELS)(solely accessible for Sailors of their first 180 days of steady lively obligation service). Commanders and commanding officers stay the ELS separation authority below the NAVADMIN. Officer promotions and enlisted developments can even be withheld for any Sailor refusing the vaccine.

Vaccination Exemptions

Exemptions to immunization necessities fall into one in every of three classes: medical, administrative, or spiritual.

Medical – exemptions are relevant if a Sailor’s medical historical past means that getting a given vaccine would adversely impression their well being (e.g. underlying medical circumstances, allergic reactions to vaccine components). Medical exemptions are usually of indefinite period until the exemption is granted in response to a brief well being situation like being pregnant or hospitalization. Sailors searching for medical exemptions ought to contact a navy doctor.

Administrative –  NAVADMIN 225/21 specifies that Sailors who will start terminal go away on or earlier than their relevant vaccination deadline could also be administratively exempted from receiving the vaccine. See BUMEDNOTE 6150 (21 Sep 21) and BUMEDINST 6230.15B for extra info.

Non secular – If the COVID-19 vaccine considerably burdens a service member’s sincerely-held spiritual beliefs, the Sailor could request a waiver by routing a non secular lodging bundle through their commanding officer to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel, Coaching and Training) (DCNO (N1)). DCNO (N1) is the choice authority on all spiritual lodging requests. Service members searching for spiritual lodging should be recommended by a professional healthcare supplier on the medical dangers related to refusing the vaccine and should conduct an administrative interview with a Navy chaplain previous to submitting a bundle. Reference DoDI 1300.17 (Non secular Liberty within the Navy Providers), BUPERSINST 1730.11A (Requirements and Procedures Governing the Lodging of Non secular Practices), and MILPERSMAN 1730-020 (Immunization Exemptions for Non secular Beliefs) for added info on requesting a non secular lodging.

In case you have any questions, please contact your chain of command or your native SJA workplace!