Nearly 10,000 U.S. military personnel have applied for religious waivers to avoid the vaccine.
So far not a single one has been approved, publicly available Pentagon data show. This potentially paves the way for thousands of service members to be booted from the force in the coming months.
The stunning number of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines arguing that their faith — or a deeply held moral conviction — should allow them to skip the shot underscores just how controversial the Wuhan virus vaccine remains both inside the military and in American society as a whole.
Faith-based exemptions from vaccines, grooming standards and other military policies have been in place for decades, but each service has acknowledged that the number of men and women seeking religious waivers for Wuhan virus immunization far exceeds anything seen before.
The Navy released its most recent numbers late Tuesday following its Nov. 28 vaccination deadline. Just over 97 per cent of sailors have received at least one dose of the vaccine, figures show, leaving more than 9,000 unvaccinated.
Of those, 2,531 have applied for a religious waiver. Not one has been approved so far.
Over 2,400 Marines have filed religious waiver requests. As of Monday evening, about 1,900 had been processed and none had been approved.
Like the Navy, the Marine Corps also has said that service members who refuse the vaccine without a valid exemption will be removed from the force.
The Air Force has received more than 4,900 religious waiver requests. They’re expected to be processed by Thursday.