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Biden admin defends kicking out 20,000 active troops over vaccine

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks after his recovery from COVID-19 in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
October 05, 2022

The Biden administration defended its decision to discharge nearly 20,000 healthy U.S. troops for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine despite dangerously low recruitment numbers.

During an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” John Kirby, the coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council, insisted that the COVID-19 vaccines are important for military readiness.

“The vaccines are a valid military requirement. You want your troops to be ready – part of being ready is being healthy and not having the ability to infect your unit and make their unit readiness any worse than it is,” Kirby said before admitting that he was at home recovering from his own bout with COVID. Kirby has received four COVID shots.  

“Every one of your branches can’t recruit their threshold yet you are kicking out good men and women. How do you explain that?” co-host Brian Kilmeade asked.

“Well, look, Brian, first of all, the Navy did make their recruiting goals for enlisted personnel this year. Yes, it’s a tough recruiting environment. We recognize that but it’s also you have a requirement to be healthy to be able to serve and this is a valid military requirement,” Kirby said. “Even if it doesn’t prevent you from getting COVID, I’m double boosted and I got it myself. It makes the symptoms a lot less severe to get you back on duty that much quicker.”

Kilmeade responded, “So, it’s worth kicking out the healthiest people in our country, who are already sacrificing, it’s worth kicking them out?”

“We would rather not lose anybody, of course, to the vaccine,” Kirby replied. “We would rather not lose anybody from a retention perspective to have them leave the service earlier than they wanted or we wanted them to. But it’s a valid military requirement.”

As the Biden administration prepares to kick out tens of thousands of unvaccinated but otherwise healthy troops, the U.S. Army revealed it missed its 2022 recruiting goal by 15,000 troops, marking a 25 percent miss from the 60,000 new soldiers it sought to recruit before the fiscal year ended on Sept. 30. It’s the worst miss on record for the service since the U.S. military became an all-volunteer force nearly 50 years ago.