Navy lifts COVID deployment restrictions

PHILIPPINE SEA - APRIL 28: In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) leads the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers JS Ashigara (DDG 178), left front, and JS Samidare (DD 106), left rear, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), center rear, and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), right rear, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), right front, during a transit the Philippine Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Z.A. Landers/Released)
In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) leads the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers JS Ashigara (DDG 178), left front, and JS Samidare (DD 106), left rear, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), center rear, and USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), right rear, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), right front, during a transit the Philippine Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Z.A. Landers/Released)

OAN Roy Francis
10:23 AM PT – Friday, February 17, 2023

The United States navy has lifted its deployment restrictions on sailors who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.

A NAVADMIN that was released on Thursday said that the Navy will no longer take into consideration the vaccination status of sailors when being deployed, or for any “other operational missions.”

The new changes are made in order to be compliant with the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

“Commanders should seek advice from medical providers regarding medical readiness of personnel to inform deployment and other operational mission decisions,” according to NAVADMIN 38/23. “COVID-19 vaccination status shall not be a consideration in assessing individual service member suitability for deployment or other operational missions.”

Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael Gilday had told reporters on Thursday that they will continue to monitor COVID very closely with regards to fleet readiness

“I would tell you that we will continue to monitor very closely our fleet concentration areas with respect to COVID levels,” Gilday said. “Particularly if there’s a new strain of COVID, we want to make sure that we have enough of the supplies on board like masks and those kinds of things that if we have to revert back to the way we’re doing things before the vaccine.”

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro had previously said that without the mandate, there would be two classes of sailors, vaccinated and un-vaccinated. The new guidance makes it so there will be no distinction between the two moving forward.

The new order also added that the deployments of sailors may still be affected depending on the host nation’s vaccination policies, but that sailors do not need to comply with the host nation’s quarantine requirements.

The NAVADMIN, however, does not include any guidance on bringing back sailors who were forcibly separated from the service for refusing the COVID vaccine during the mandate era.