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(LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Air Force (USAF) has officially begun terminating service members for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccines, discharging 27 airmen on Monday.

In August, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin directedthe secretaries of all military branches to “immediately begin full [COVID] vaccination of all members of the Armed Forces” and “impose ambitious timelines for implementation.” NBC News reported that these 27 Air Force discharges are believed to be the first fallout from that order, as the Air Force had the earliest deadline along with the U.S. Space Force.

Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek said the discharges may have had other contributing factors as well, but vaccination refusal was a factor in all of them. Every terminated airman had served for less than six years.

USAF statistics say approximately 97% of active-duty Air and Space Force members have been vaccinated so far, though more than 1,000 have refused and another 4,700 have religious exemption requests pending.

President Joe Biden has dismissed concerns that COVID vaccine mandates will force a significant number of Americans to leave or not apply for critical jobs, but many remain concerned.

While defenders of vaccine mandates are quick to point out that the military has long required soldiers to vaccinate against a range of diseases, the fact remains that previous vaccines were subjected to far more evaluation and development time before being put into widespread use than the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson COVID shots receive during their accelerated clinical trials.

Vaccine defenders also note that this one-year development period was not starting from scratch, but rather relied on years of prior research into mRNA technology; and that one of the innovations of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed was conducting various aspects of the development process concurrently rather than sequentially, eliminating delays unrelated to safety. However, those factors do not fully account for the condensing of clinical trial phases — each of which can take anywhere from 1-3 years on their own — to just three months apiece.

While cases of severe harm reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) after taking COVID shots represent less than one percent of total doses administered in the United States, a 2010 report submitted to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) warned that VAERS caught “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events.” May reporting from NBC News quotes several mainstream experts acknowledging “gaps” in federal vaccine monitoring.

Further, the premise that vaccination is necessary to protect others rests on false assumptions about asymptomatic spread being a significant driver of COVID and disregard of natural immunity following COVID recovery, and flies in the face of data indicating widespread dissemination of the vaccines has failed to end the pandemic.

The federal government considers more than 202 million Americans (almot 61% of the eligible) to be “fully vaccinated” (a moving target given the vaccines’ temporary nature), yet data from Johns Hopkins University reported in October shows that more Americans died of COVID-19 by that point in 2021 (353,000) than in all of 2020 (352,000).

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