Two months after the Pentagon began requiring all troops to get the coronavirus vaccine or face dismissal, the vast majority have now had shots, in part because none received a religious exemption, military officials said.
While vaccine exemptions are often broadly worded, requests based on religious beliefs are coming under close scrutiny in the military and at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the first federal agency to impose a mandate.
About 97 percent of the country’s 1.3 million active-duty service members have had at least one dose of the vaccine, and roughly 87 percent have had both shots.
The widespread federal and private sector mandates pose a test for the country, and the military and Veterans Affairs are being closely watched by companies and legal experts. Across the country, there are at least 40 legal challenges to vaccine and testing mandates issued by cities, hospitals, universities and other employers that have yet to move forward, while others have been knocked back.