Of the over 8,000 service members who were discharged for refusing the shot, only 43 have rejoined over the past eight months.
After first rolling out a vaccination program on a voluntary basis, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the mandate in 2021, penalizing all service members who resisted.
The Military Times indicated that roughly 17,000 service members ultimately refused to take the vaccine.
While around 1,200 secured exemptions, Defense Department records indicate that 3,717 Marines, 1,816 soldiers, and 2,064 sailors were discharged for refusing the vaccine, reported Reuters. Further, 834 Air Force/Space Force service members were apparently also discharged.
Approximately 70% of those ousted for their refusal to take the novel mRNA vaccine reportedly received general discharges.
The mandate and the ousters were roundly criticized.
Twenty governors, in a Nov. 30, 2022, letter demanding the mandate’s repeal, stated, “The Biden vaccine mandate on our military creates a national security risk that severely impacts our defense capabilities abroad and our state readiness here at home.”