National Defence says fewer unvaccinated troops kicked out of military than reported

OTTAWA – The Department of National Defence says fewer troops have been kicked out for refusing to get their vaccines than previously reported.

Defence officials told The Canadian Press in early February that 58 members of the Canadian Armed Forces had been forced to hang up their uniforms after refusing to get their COVID-19 vaccines.

But Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier says the number was provided in error and only 39 have been involuntarily released, with another 206 in the process of being forced out.

Chief of the defence staff Gen. Wayne Eyre ordered all military personnel to be fully vaccinated by mid-December to protect the Armed Forces from COVID-19.

Le Bouthillier says while the requirement is still in effect, some unvaccinated members have remained in uniform while waiting to see if they will be granted an exemption on medical or religious grounds.

The military reported nearly 600 Armed Forces members with COVID-19 earlier this month, a dramatic increase over previous periods, as public health officials said Canada was in a sixth wave of the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2022.

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