Of all of the decisions so far made by the Biden administration, perhaps none has been quite as fraught with criticism as the attempted implementation of a federal vaccine mandate, aimed at further weakening the coronavirus pandemic.
The idea that any American should be forced into an unwanted, personal medical decision has not sat well with freedom advocates, who are afraid that this is but the first erosion of bodily autonomy here in the United States.
What’s worse still is the fact that the exemptions to this mandate, which have been categorized largely as either medical or religious exemptions, have been hard to come by. In fact, within the US military, exactly zero religious exemptions have been granted thus far, frustrating troops around the globe.
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More than 12,000 military service members refusing the COVID-19 vaccine are seeking religious exemptions, and so far they are having zero success.
That total lack of approvals is creating new tensions within the military, even as the vast majority of the armed forces have gotten vaccinated.
The services, urgently trying to keep the coronavirus pandemic in check by getting troops vaccinated, are now besieged with exemption requests they are unlikely to approve. Meanwhile, troops claiming religious reasons for avoiding the shots are perplexed because exemptions are theoretically available, yet seem impossible to obtain.
The process has been a complicated and tedious one, with local chaplains being asked to assess the validity of individual exemption requests, but being forced to send their findings over to a federal official for final approval.
The military backlog of approvals could very well extend well into the new year, leaving a great many of America’s service members hanging in limbo through the holidays.
Cross-posted with Flag and Cross
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