Military chaplains have begun reviewing requests from service members who want to opt out of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for religious reasons.

“For those who are against the vaccine for religious reasons, the chaplains really determine the severity of their religious conviction,” said Navy Capt. Richard Ryan, the chaplain for the Pacific fleet, according to Stars and Stripes. “The policy says it’ll be on a case-by-case basis, and it is based on the sincerity of the religious conviction.”

DOD hasn’t said how many service members have applied for a religious exemption.

About 97% of active duty troops are at least partially vaccinated.

“I think you can see from the numbers… there’s not a lot of resistance,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said this week. “People understand that this is an important program, and they’re participating in it.”

Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Gary A. Witte

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