Pentagon rushed to deny service members’ requests for religious vaccine exemption: report – WGMD
A Pentagon report found the military was likely too quick to deny service members religious exemptions to its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
“We have seen a trend toward generalized assessments rather than the individualized assessment required by federal law and DoD and military service policies,” Pentagon Inspector General Sean O’Donnell wrote in a memo to the secretary. at the Lloyd Austin Defense in June, according to Military. com. “Some of the appeal decisions included material that demonstrated greater consideration of the facts and circumstances involved in a claim.”
Thousands of service members requested religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine after it was mandated by Austin in August 2021, but only a fraction of those who made the requests were approved.
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The army imposes vaccinations and medical treatment for various diseases, including influenza and smallpox. Service members can only be exempted from these treatments with an approved religious exemption, but the inspector general found that the process for denying such requests for the COVID-19 vaccine revealed “worrying” trends.
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“The volume and pace at which decisions have been made to deny requests is concerning,” the memo to Austin said. “Assuming a 10-hour working day with no breaks or attention to other matters, the average review period was approximately 12 minutes for each package. Such a review period seems insufficient to process each request in a individualized while performing the required duties of their position.
A group of GOP lawmakers on Monday demanded answers from Austin on what they called “broad refusal of religious accommodation” in response to the memo.
“In February 2022, the Department of the Navy had granted only one partial exemption to its COVID-19 vaccine mandate on religious grounds, and in July 2022, the Department of the United States Army had only approved 20 of more than 8,000 applications, the Air Force Department had approved less than 130 applications out of more than 9,000, and the US Marines had approved only seven applications out of more than 3,700,” the group said, led by Republican Representatives Jim Banks of Indiana and Darrell Issa of California. .
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.