The National Guard Bureau is distributing a newly approved COVID-19 vaccine that it hopes will be more palatable to Guard members who have refused the previous shots for religious reasons, Stars and Stripes reported.
The earlier versions of the COVID-19 vaccine were produced using mRNA, a technology first developed decades ago by scientists using fetal tissue, which is the crux of many religious exemption requests. The two-dose Novavax vaccine was produced more traditionally, like many other vaccines already required before enlisting.
The Guard had a June 30 deadline to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but almost 10% of the total Guard force has not yet had a single shot. Unvaccinated Guard members have not been formally separated, but they are no longer eligible for benefits or participation in military duties, including training and drills.
The new doses should arrive this month, the National Guard Bureau said.
Army National Guard photo by Pfc. Annie Riley