Why do thousands of the US military refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

Thousands of US servicemen are refusing to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, causing frustration among their commanders who try to refute false rumors on the internet and convince troops of the benefits of inoculation.

In some army units, only a third of the soldiers have agreed to be vaccinated. Still, commanders have discovered that there is one factor that sometimes convinces recruits to get vaccinated: overseas deployment.

Among the sailors who set sail last week for missions abroad, the percentage of those who agreed to inoculate rose to a figure between 80% and 90%.

The deputy director of operations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Major General Jeff Taliaferro, declared Wednesday in Congress that “very preliminary data” indicates that only two-thirds of the military have agreed to be vaccinated.

That’s more than the general population, of which only 50% have agreed to be vaccinated according to a Kaiser Foundation survey, but the large number of military personnel who refuse to be vaccinated is worrisome because soldiers often live, work and They fight in conditions of physical proximity where it is not so easy to put on a mask.

The rejection among the armed ranks also occurs at a time when many soldiers are deployed to vaccination centers throughout the country and when the political class is trying to point to the military ranks as an example for the rest of the nation.

“We’re still having a hard time coming up with the right message to persuade people to agree to get vaccinated,” said Brig. Gen. Edward Bailey, director of health for Army Command. He indicated that in some units 30% have accepted the vaccine and that in others the proportion reaches between 50% and 70%.

At Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where thousands of soldiers are trained for overseas missions, 60% have agreed to get vaccinated, Bailey said. “That is not the number we expected for personnel who will be on the front lines,” he said.

He said that he has heard all kinds of excuses from the soldiers for not having to get vaccinated.

“I think the most entertaining was one that told me ‘the Army always gives me orders, but this time it gave me the option, so I said no,'” he said.

Commanders from all branches of the military have campaigned for vaccines.

They have held assemblies, sent written messages, distributed scientific information, posted videos on the internet and even photos of commanders receiving their own injections.