A COVID-19 vaccine that could soon win federal approval may offer a boost for the U.S. military: an opportunity to get shots into some of the thousands of service members who have refused the other coronavirus vaccines for religious reasons.
Already, at least 175 active duty and reserve service members have received the Novavax vaccine. Some have traveled overseas at their own expense to get it. The Novavax vaccine meets Defense Department requirements because it has the World Health Organization’s emergency use approval and is used in Europe and other regions.
Military officials say many troops who refuse the shots cite certain COVID-19 vaccines’ remote connection to abortions.
Last month, the U.S. Army announced Friday it has separated 505 members for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The Army said it disapproved 927 out of 4,302 requests for religious exemptions. The Army approved eight religious exemptions for the vaccine.