Air Force announces deadlines for full compliance with COVID-19 vaccination
Airmen and guards have until November 2 to be fully immunized against the COVID-19 virus, and Air National Guard and Reserve personnel have until December 2.
The only way to avoid these delays is to actively seek an exemption.
On September 3, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall released COVID-19 vaccine implementation guidelines for members of the total armed forces of the Department of the Air Force, in accordance with the mandate from the Secretary of Defense last month.
The service’s implementation plan requires Airmen and Guardians to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on the following dates, unless requesting an exemption. The vaccinations will help ensure the health and safety of the military while preserving the department’s readiness and ability to perform air and space force missions around the world, according to department heads.
“We are taking an aggressive approach to protect our military personnel, their families and their communities against COVID-19 and the highly transmissible Delta variant,” said Deputy Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones. “As members of the country’s armed forces, our Airmen and Guardians must be able to respond to situations around the world – being fully immunized will help us safely meet the readiness requirements upon which our national security depends. “
Mandatory vaccination through a military supplier will initially only include the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 ® vaccine (widely referred to as “Comirnaty®” upon receipt of approval from the State Food and Drug Administration. United), which is currently the only vaccine approved by the FDA. Airmen and Guardians can continue to volunteer to receive COVID-19 vaccines approved under the Emergency Use Clearance, including Moderna, Janssen and AstraZeneca, from military and civilian suppliers.
Military personnel are considered fully immunized two weeks after completing the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after receiving a single dose of a single-dose vaccine. This includes one- or two-dose options permitted under EUA or FDA approval.
Airmen and Guardians who have proof of vaccination documented in their medical record as per this definition will be considered to meet the vaccination requirements.
Prior to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, service members have access to health care providers and chaplains to answer questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccination. In addition, commanders should consult their duty judge advocate for additional advice on vaccination non-compliance.
Members of the military have the option of requesting medical or administrative exemptions, including religious accommodations. The process for obtaining exemptions for all compulsory vaccinations is provided for in AFI 48-110_IP, Vaccinations and chemoprophylaxis for the prevention of infectious diseases, for medical exemptions, and DAFI 52-201, Religious freedom in the department of air force, for religious accommodation. . No vaccine exemptions will be approved just because Airmen and Guardians have an approved retirement or separation date.
Non-compliance with vaccination
Any refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19, in the absence of an approved exemption or accommodation, can be sanctioned under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Military commanders retain the full range of disciplinary options available to them under the UCMJ.
For more information, Airmen and Guardians are encouraged to work with their chains of command and local military processing facilities.