The Navy will no longer consider COVID-19 vaccination status for the deployment of its sailors, according to new guidance released this week.
“Commanders should seek advice from medical providers regarding medical readiness of personnel to inform deployment and other operational mission decisions. COVID-19 vaccination status shall not be a consideration in assessing individual service member suitability for deployment or other operational missions,” the guidance states.
The development comes after the Pentagon formally rescinded its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for troops in January when President Joe Biden signed into law a massive defense spending bill that required the measure’s termination.
But the memorandum left open the option for commanders to “consider, as appropriate, the individual immunization status of personnel in making deployment, assignment, and other operational decisions, including when vaccination is required for travel to, or entry into, a foreign nation.”
According to the Navy’s guidance, unvaccinated sailors may have their liberties restricted in countries that have COVID-19 restrictions. Commanders “will coordinate with country teams and local authorities to identify any host nation requirements related to COVID-19 testing or vaccination status that may restrict or create conditions-based criteria for liberty,” it states.
It also noted that, “Commanders retain the authority to implement Health Protection Measures at any time or manner deemed necessary in support of operational safety and effectiveness, and where necessary, to restrict movement of service members in order to comply with host nation quarantine regulations.”
The guidance did not address sailors separated from the Navy for refusing COVID-19 vaccination when the mandate was in place.
Source: us news