The Air Force announced Wednesday that nearly 96% of airmen and guardians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Air Force had set a November 2 deadline for active-component airmen and guardians to be fully vaccinated.
"Any active-component airman or guardian who has refused to obtain a qualifying vaccine by Nov. 2 and has not received, or, is not in the process of seeking, a medical exemption or religious accommodation will be in violation of a lawful order and subject to discipline under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice," the Air Force stated.
“Our Airmen need to be prepared to operate anytime, anywhere in the world,” said General C. Q. Brown, the Air Force Chief of Staff. “Getting vaccinated ensures we are a ready force to meet our commitments to the nation while protecting the health of our team and families.”
“I am incredibly proud of our Airmen for coming together and getting vaccinated,” said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass. “This is about readiness and ensuring our Air Force can continue to defend the homeland. It’s also about understanding that we are not in the clear yet. Continuing safe practices to protect ourselves and others should always be in our cross-check.”
Over the next 30 days, the Department of the Air Force will review requests for medical exemptions and religious accommodations. Department of the Air Force civilians have until November 22 to be fully vaccinated, and Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members in a Reserve component status must be vaccinated by December 2.
Nearly 8,500 members of the Air Force are still considered unvaccinated and 800 have refused the vaccine, the military reported.
“To those yet to get vaccinated, the order is clear: You have a responsibility to take action now, protect our nation and those we love, or be held accountable for failing to do so," Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall said.
The Air Force says it will be reviewing requests for medical exemptions and religious accommodations over the next 30 days.