Dutch soldiers who refused Covid vaccine not deployed abroad
Seven Dutch soldiers refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and so far two of them were therefore not deployed to missions abroad, the Ministry of Defense said to the Volkskrant.
Vaccination is voluntary in principle, but mandatory for military personnel who are scheduled to participate in foreign missions. Employees for the Koninklijke Marechaussee, a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military, who work abroad must also be vaccinated.
Soldiers who do not want to be vaccinated, can submit an objection to the Conscientious Objections Committee for Immunization of Soldiers. If the objection is upheld, managers will not be told why the soldier cannot be deployed. Repeated negative advice for deployment can result in soldiers being reassigned to a civilian position that entails no foreign deployment.
This happened to two soldiers so far. They both objected to getting a Covid-19 vaccine for religious reasons. The Committee upheld their objections and they have now been given other duties.
In three other cases, the objection was declared unfounded because the vaccine wasn't refused based on religious, medical or philosophical grounds, a Defense spokesperson said to the newspaper. One objection was later withdrawn, and another is still being assessed.
So far no soldiers were dismissed because of refusing a vaccine, the Ministry said.