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Navy has now separated more than 1,500 sailors over COVID vaccine refusal

A lawyer representing more than 4,200 sailors in a class action lawsuit said readiness is being harmed.

NORFOLK, UK — More than 1,500 sailors are now out of a job over their refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccination.

According to newly published data on the Navy's website, the service has separated nearly 1,200 active-duty personnel and more than 300 reservists.

The law firm representing 35 Navy SEALS has now had its case expanded to include all 4,200 Navy service members seeking religious accommodation.

In an interview with 13News Now, lawyer Mike Berry with the Texas-based non-profit religious freedom organization First Liberty Institute said kicking out sailors over COVID vaccine refusal is harming military readiness.

"Recruiting and retention are at an all-time low," he said. "Morale is at an all-time low. And the harm to our national security cannot be overstated."

The Navy, on its website, said 47 sailors have received religious accommodation exemptions.

More than 6,300 active and reserve sailors remain unvaccinated. Seventeen Navy military members have died from COVID-19.

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