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WASHINGTON (LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. Navy has begun discharging dozens of service members for refusing to take the experimental COVID-19 shots, following the Pentagon’s military-wide COVID jab mandate published last summer.

The moves come as the Navy has thus far refused to approve a single religious exemption request.

In an announcement Wednesday, the Navy stated it has discharged 45 of its members for refusing to get the jabs, including 23 active duty members and 22 members who had only been in the service for 180 days or less.

Wednesday’s announcement is the first to acknowledge that active duty members have been let go for refusing the shot after the branch’s deadline for fulfilling the requirement ended November 28.

Individuals removed from service for refusing the shot will be granted a general honorable discharge, the Navy stated last year.

While the initial figures are small, The Daily Wire reported that the number of sailors and officers who face termination from the Navy may soon increase “as the latest update from the Navy on Wednesday revealed nearly 8,000 of its personnel remain unvaccinated.”

That number includes 5,035 active duty members along with 2,960 service members in the Ready Reserve. There are roughly 346,200 personnel serving in the Navy overall.

Among the unvaccinated, 3,258 active duty service members and 776 Ready Reserve members have requested an exemption from getting the abortion-tainted jab for religious reasons. No religious exemption requests have been approved.

Exemptions for other reasons have also received scant attention, with just 10 permanent medical exemptions, 259 temporary medical exemptions, and 59 administrative exemptions receiving approval for active duty members.

While defenders of the injection mandates have been quick to point out that the military has long required soldiers to be immunized against a range of diseases, the fact remains that previous injections were subjected to extensive evaluation and development time before being put into widespread use, while the COVID shots were rushed through accelerated clinical trials.

Moreover, many Americans harbor moral and religious reservations about the use of cells from aborted babies in the development of the shots.

Meanwhile, the Navy isn’t the first military branch to begin discharging its unvaccinated members.

In late December, the U.S. Air Force reported that it had discharged 27 members for refusing to comply with its injection mandate after the mandate deadline passed December 2. As of January 21, that number had grown to 111 active duty Airmen. The Daily Wire noted that like the Navy, the Air Force has “not approved a single religious accommodation request.”

For its part, the Marine Corps has thus far discharged 334 Marines for refusing the jab, making the U.S. Army the only branch that has not yet announced having discharged any active duty personnel for remaining unvaccinated, even though its deadline passed on December 15.

As of January 13, the Marine Corps has granted just two religious exemptions and the Army has not granted any.

As some conservatives criticize the military for violating the rights of service members, ignoring their religious beliefs, and refusing to acknowledge the health risks associated with the jabs, there are also geopolitical concerns.

Policies leading to the discharge of otherwise mission-ready soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen have come under fire by some who worry that American armed forces could be hobbled if unvaccinated service members are unnecessarily removed from their posts.

In November, after the Air Force became the first military branch to begin discharging its unvaccinated members, The Washington Post observed that a loss of even 3%-4% of the branch’s 324,000 active-duty personnel could stymie crucial operations, particularly if members with pivotal military occupations are dismissed for standing against the mandate.

With the risk of terrorism projected to increase after the chaotic drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan last year, and a potential invasion by Russian forces into Ukraine looming, there remains concern that a systemic discharge of combat-ready troops could weaken America’s ability to respond to increasing geopolitical threats.

Regardless, military leaders show no signs of backing down, with reports indicating some are considering implementing a booster jab mandate.

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