After the coronavirus vaccine mandate was rescinded for members of the military this week, the Pentagon may consider back pay for troops who were discharged for refusing to get it.
“All Service members and Veterans may apply at any time to the appropriate Discharge Review Board or Board for Correction for Military/Naval Records if they believe that there is an error or injustice in their records-to include those that were separated by the vaccine mandate,” Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Charlie Dietz told Fox News Digital in a statement Friday.
“Regarding back pay, the Department is still exploring this and will provide its views on legislation of this nature at the appropriate time and through the appropriate process,” he added.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin officially repealed the pandemic-era policy on Tuesday after Congress included it in the annual defense spending bill in December.
Republican congress members are seeking to help discharged troops get reinstated or an honorable discharge.
Former Vice President Mike Pence called the mandate “unconscionable” in an interview with The Hill on Wednesday adding that he thinks all troops discharged for refusing the vaccine should get full back pay.
“I think now that Secretary Austin has implemented what Congress passed into law, lifting the vaccine mandate on members of our armed forces, now I’m calling on the Biden administration and the Pentagon to reinstate every man and woman that was discharged from our armed forces because they refused to take the vaccine, and give them 100 percent back pay for the time after they were discharged,” he said.
Nearly 8,500 military members were discharged for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine while it was mandated but the vast majority, 96%, are vaccinated.