Each of the services has received several thousand requests for religious exemptions from the military’s vaccine mandate. But until this week, none of those requests have been granted, although the services still have many requests to process.
According to the latest updates, the Navy has received 3,038 religious exemption requests, although the agency does not say how many have been processed. The military has so far received 2,128 requests and rejected 162. The Air Force received 2,387 and rejected 229.
Earlier this week, he was pressed for why the services had not granted religious waivers, and Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the services are considering the requests “in good faith.”
“We believe there should be a channel through which men and women of the workforce who believe they have legitimate religious exemptions to search on their behalf,” Kirby said at a news conference Monday.
Some Republican governors have refused to carry out the mandate for National Guard units because they have the power to reject the federal military mandate.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Navy from taking adverse action against 35 Navy Seals who sued for seeking exemption from the vaccination requirement for religious reasons. The order prevented the Navy from enacting policies that could render those religious opponents ineligible or disqualified from special operations.
The Pentagon has said it is still considering how it will respond to the decision.