Monday 18 October 2021

Two military personnel banned from foreign tours for refusing vaccine

Photo: depositphotos

Two serving military personnel have been barred from foreign tours of duty after they refused the coronavirus vaccine.

Both objected to the vaccine on grounds of religious conscience, the Volkskrant reported on Monday. Their objections were upheld by the panel that rules on principled objections to immunisation, but they will not be allowed to take part in peacekeeping missions.

So far seven members of the armed services have requested to be excused the vaccine. Three requests were turned down by the panel, one has been withdrawn and another is awaiting a ruling.

Vaccination has been compulsory for military personnel on foreign missions since 1953, under a law brought in to curb the spread of smallpox. In May this year coronavirus was added to the schedule of immunisations because of the impossibility of social distancing in military vehicles.

Junior defence minister Barbara Visser told parliament in May that infected personnel were a ‘risk to the operational capacity of the armed forces’ and could not rely on medical treatment in the countries where they were deployed.

Nobody has been discharged from the services for refusing to be vaccinated, the department of defence told the Volkskrant.

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