WASHINGTON — More than 12,000 military service members refusing the COVID-19 vaccine are seeking religious exemptions, and so far they're having zero success. Not a single request has been granted.
The services are urgently trying to keep the pandemic in check by getting virtually all troops vaccinated. And now the military branches are besieged with exemption requests they’re unlikely to approve.
Meanwhile, troops claiming religious reasons for avoiding the shots are perplexed because exemptions are theoretically available, yet seemingly impossible to obtain.
Getting an exemption is rooted in a process that predates the pandemic and has been used for decisions such as whether troops on duty can wear head coverings or beards for religious reasons.