Thousands of Air Force members remain unvaccinated ahead of deadline: Report

President Joe Biden’s increasingly strict federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates have faced mounting opposition in recent weeks.

According to one recent report, a large number of U.S. Air Force members are refusing to abide by the requirement.

Overwhelming majority already vaccinated

As Fox News explained, this is the first military branch in which such widespread refusal of the vaccine is beginning to surface.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the mandate for enlisted Americans about two months ago and the Air Force gave active duty members until Nov. 2 to receive at least their first dose.

National Guard and Reserve members were afforded a full month longer to comply.

In a statement on the matter, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby revealed that most members of the Air Force have already received a jab. He noted that 97% of active-duty members have gotten at least one shot and about 87% are fully vaccinated.

When broken down into real numbers, however, reports show that about 12,000 Air Force personnel have opted against receiving the vaccine. At this point, many of them might not be able to meet the Nov. 2 deadline

Thousands poised to violate mandate

Although some members of the branch have applied for exemptions, many others are said to be on track to violate the vaccine mandate. As of the latest updates available, it remains unclear what the consequences will be. One possibility includes outright dismissal from the military and another involves a military charge.

At the moment, it is unknown whether the Biden administration intends to follow through with potentially severe punishments. If so, the potential impact on thousands of enlisted servicemembers could be severe.

Critics are increasingly dismayed by the perception that the president is willing to jeopardize the nation’s military readiness to further his goal of mandating the vaccine nationwide. Whether or not that is the case still remains to be seen.

Federal, state, and local mandates have received increased pushback from citizens in recent days, including among first responders in New York City.

Earlier this week, a group of firefighters demonstrated outside of Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio’s residence in opposition to a requirement that all city workers receive the vaccine or face termination.

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