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A Navy warship commander who refused to get the COVID-19 jab or submit to testing to prove he did not have the virus was fired from his job as the executive officer of the USS Winston Churchill.
Cmdr. Lucian Kins, 39, who was terminated on Friday, is the first naval officer to be fired over vaccine refusal.
He reportedly requested a religious exemption to the military’s vaccine requirement, but was denied and is appealing the decision.
The Pentagon has made the vaccine mandatory for all service members, and Navy personnel had until late November to get their shots or request exemptions. Thousands of service members have asked for religious exemptions, but so far none of the military services have approved one.
It remains unclear at this time if Kins will be reinstated to his position if his appeal is approved. He has yet to comment on his ousting.
Cmdr. Lucian Kins (pictured with his wife) was fired from his job as the executive officer of the USS Winston Churchill on Friday because he refused to get the COVID-19 vaccine or be tested to prove he did not have the virus
Kins was relieved from his duties as second in command of the USS Winston Churchill, a destroyer, by Navy Capt. Ken Anderson, commander of Naval Surface Squadron 14.
Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Jason Fischer declined to give the precise reason why Kins was relieved of command, citing privacy concerns.
He did, however, state the reason for the firing was that Anderson lost confidence in Kins’ ability to perform his duties after he failed to obey a lawful order.
Other officials alleged it was because Kins refused the order to get the COVID-19 vaccine and refused testing to ensure he did not have the virus.
Kins has been reassigned to the staff of Naval Surface Squadron 14.
Lt. Cmdr. Han Yi, the ship’s plans and tactics officer, is temporarily serving as the Churchill’s executive officer until a permanent replacement is identified.
The Navy did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Kins, who was on track to become commander of the USS Winston Churchill (pictured) in the next year and a half, had requested a religious exemption to the vaccine mandate
To date, 2,705 sailors have requested religious waivers but so far none have been approved (Pictured: US sailors on the USS Winston Churchill in May 2021)
The USS Winston Churchill is currently stationed in Mayport, Florida on a scheduled 14-month maintenance period, Fox News reported.
Prior to Friday’s firing, Kins was on track to become the warship’s commander within the next year and a half.
Meanwhile, nearly 5,731 active duty sailors remain unvaccinated against COVID-19, officials confirmed to the Navy Times.
The Navy has signed off on seven permanent medical exemptions, 326 temporary medical exemptions and 124 administrative exemptions to the vaccine mandate.
Officials said 2,705 sailors requested religious waivers but so far none have been approved.
The continued push for vaccination comes as the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide.
Forty-three Omicron variant infections were identified in 22 states during the first eight days of December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday.
Although the first cases appeared to be mild, the CDC warned ‘as with all variants, a lag exists between infection and more severe outcomes.’
The continued push for vaccination comes as the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide. Forty-three Omicron variant infections were identified in 22 states during the first eight days of December, the CDC reported on Friday
To date, 483 million Americans – or 60.7 percent of the population – have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 200 million US citizens are fully vaccinated
The United States has reported more than 49 million coronavirus cases since the outbreak began in 2020
Omicron has been deemed a variant of concern and is believed to be more transmissible than the Delta variant, according to the New York Times.
It is said to also contain mutations make the variant somewhat resistant to the body’s immune defenses and the already available coronavirus treatments.
‘Even if most infections are mild, a highly transmissible variant could result in enough cases to overwhelm health systems,’ the CDC warned. ‘The clinical severity of infection with the Omicron variant will become better understood as additional cases are identified and investigated.’
To date, 483 million Americans – or 60.7 percent of the population – have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 200 million US citizens are fully vaccinated.
Experts are urging Americans to take steps to slow the spread of Omicron by getting vaccinated, wearing masks, practicing social distancing and getting tested when needed.