North America

US Air Force fires 27 people for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

The US Air Force has said that it has discharged 27 personnel for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, making them the first active-duty troops to be fired for disobeying the vaccine mandate.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made the vaccine mandatory for all service members in August and most of the active-duty troops have received at least one dose.  

Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek said the troops were provided a chance to explain why they had refused to get inoculated, but none of them were given exemptions.

Stefanek told The Associated Press that none of them sought medical, administrative or religious exemptions.

She added that the troops are believed to be the first service members to be discharged for not getting vaccinated.

A total of 79 uniformed military personnel across the different S military services have died from the coronavirus since 2019.

As the United States braces for a potential surge in infections due to more time spent indoors with colder weather and the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus, the country on Sunday reached 800,000 coronavirus-related deaths, Reuters reported. 

The milestone means the US death toll from this one virus now exceeds the entire population of North Dakota.

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