Sailors who refuse the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine could face a range of administrative actions, according to the agency – in addition to being processed for separation.
Mariners who decline the vaccine and do not have a pending or approved waiver application could miss out on education benefits, promotions and bonus payments, according to a Navy administrative release released Nov. 15.
“To ensure a fully vaccinated force, it is the policy of the US Navy to divorce all members of the Navy Service who refuse the lawful order to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and do not have an approved exemption,” it said. the NAVADMIN.
Seamen who are denied an administrative exemption, such as a religious exemption, or a medically exempt five days after that to take the first steps to get fully vaccinated — or the Navy will start the divorce process, according to the report.
The announcement comes after the Navy announced last month that it was establishing a Covid Consolidated Disposition Authority to “ensure a fair and consistent process” in handling segregation provisions for those who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, and the new NAVADMIN outlines additional administrative actions such as seamen may encounter.
Mariners who reject the COVID-19 vaccine will not be eligible to re-enroll or renew their employment. Commanders must cancel extension agreements if a sailor has an extension agreement that has not come into effect and also refuses the vaccine, the NAVADMIN said.
The guidelines also instruct commanders to delay officer promotions and withhold claims for enlisted personnel who decline the jab.
“Navy officers who refuse the vaccine and are in a hunted status should be removed from office as soon as possible,” NAVADMIN said.
In addition, sailors who reject the vaccine have new restrictions on bonus or incentive money.
“Navy members who decline the vaccine will not be allowed to enter into new agreements for bonuses, special rewards or incentives, and any unearned portion of the current bonuses, special rewards and incentives will be reclaimed,” the NAVADMIN said.
While most sailors who refuse the vaccine will continue to perform their assigned duties while the divorce processing or trial is settled, in some cases commanders may initiate a local reassignment to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Sailors are not eligible to collect career retention bonuses, hiring bonuses and incentive awards when removed from assignment or separated from service.
“Bonuses, special rewards and incentives become unearned when a Navy service member who refuses the vaccine ceases to perform tasks for which they receive such a bonus, special reward or incentive fee,” states the NAVADMIN.
In addition, the guideline states that those who deny COVID immunizations will no longer be able to receive training opportunities or tuition from the Navy.
“Those who fail to fulfill a service obligation entered into to participate in Navy-funded full-time, part-time, or off-duty education programs… according to the report.
A separate NAVADMIN is expected in December to direct commanders to the instructions set forth in this message.
Active duty sailors had to receive their last dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Nov. 14 to meet the Nov. 28 deadline to be fully vaccinated. Those in the Navy Reserve have until December 14 to meet the December 28 deadline for fully vaccinated status.
According to NAVADMIN, those who have already gotten the ball rolling to be fully vaccinated but fail to meet their respective deadline should notify their chain of command immediately so the matter can be reported. The service can then decide whether to initiate or suspend the administrative separation.
“If in doubt about how to judge issues related to a naval officer refusing the vaccine, commanders should seek advice from their chain of command, their staff jury attorney and/or the [COVID Consolidated Disposition Authority] before acting,” states the NAVADMIN.
The Covid Consolidated Disposition Authority, headed by Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John Nowell Jr. and Chief of Naval Reserve Vice Adm. John Mustin, will also segregate sailors who fail to comply with the vaccine mandate. Sailors who break the rules and are separated only for denial of the vaccine could be given as low as a general discharge on honorable terms — making them ineligible for some veteran benefits.
The Navy says 96 percent of active-duty seamen and 93 percent of the total armed forces are fully vaccinated, while 99.5 percent of active-duty seamen and 96.5 percent of the total armed forces have had at least one COVID-19 infection. injection, according to figures released Nov. 10.
The Navy has signed six permanent medical waivers for the COVID-19 vaccine, but has not approved requests for religious waivers.
Permanent medical waivers are being given to sailors dealing with a permanent condition, such as an allergy to a vaccine ingredient, said Navy spokesman Lt. cmdr. Andrew DeGarmo told Navy Times this month.
More than 70 servicemen have died from complications from COVID-19, at least 15 of them by the Navy, according to Pentagon data updated Nov. 10. people who have not been vaccinated against the virus.