(NavySEAL.com News Release) With differing views on how to proceed with the COVID vaccine, it comes as no surprise that legal mandates have come into play … as well as actions to fight them. After all, a legal battle involving rights is about as American as it gets.
Late in 2021, the Biden Administration announced that COVID vaccines would be required for all military members currently serving, including reserve members. Soon after, requests for religious exemptions and lawsuits fighting the requirement were filed at the federal level.
Disciplinary actions were taken at the unit level, with questions on how to proceed moving up into higher military ranks. With a new ordinance in play, neither side was sure of protocol and how to proceed.
The Legal Results are In
Since the first time since the introduction of COVID vaccines and subsequent military member requirements, the legal system has backtracked, reversing legal consequences for SEALs who refuse the vaccine. Previously, legal actions were to be implemented on sailors who refused the COVID-19 vaccine. However, a group of 35 joint special service members and SEALs banded together and filed a lawsuit to defend their freedom to avoid the vaccine mandate, even as members of the military.
In January of ’22, a federal judge blocked this mandate, stating that the service members had the freedoms to reject the vaccine, and citing that no religious exemptions had been granted to date. The decision was released on January 3rd, blocking punishable actions from taking place in a 26-page decision. Religious freedoms were the main reason for the blocked vaccine decision.
The case is notable in that it has granted SEALs and special forces members to ignore direct orders.
The First Religious Exemptions are Granted to Marines
In response to the decision, two Marines were granted religious COVID vaccine exemptions to members in mid-January of ’22. It was the first branch to grant such exemptions, though all branches have received thousands of requests. To-date, the Army and Navy have processed and rejected hundreds of cases, with thousands more to go.
The Marines have also rejected hundreds of requests, with the first two being granted due to religious reasons. No information was provided on what grounds or what type of religion the receiving Marines practice.
This is one more step in the ongoing legal battle between the federal government and its vaccine mandates and citizens who object to receiving the vaccine.
These case differs due to legal requirements of soldiers to follow various vaccines. Prior to COVID shots, soldiers of each branch are legally required to receive any number of shots. Common exemptions are provided for religious and/or health reasons.
Military members have become split with their decision to either embrace or fight the COVID vaccine. Most notably because most receive other types of vaccines without incident. For instance, Anthrax shots, malaria treatments, and other vaccines everyday citizens are unlikely to receive. Though it’s worth noting that flu shots are not required of most military members. (As the COVID vaccine is being compared to flu vaccinations.)