COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccineiStock

The US Air Force on Monday announced that 27 service members had been discharged for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, Reuters reports.

They are believed to be the first active-duty troops to have been removed for declining the vaccine.

Ann Stefanek, a spokeswoman for the Air Force, said the troops were given a chance to explain why they had refused to get vaccinated, but none of them were given exemptions.

In August, the Pentagon announced it would require service members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after the Pfizer vaccine received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The vast majority of active-duty troops have received at least one dose, according to Reuters.

About 97% of Air Force personnel are vaccinated against the virus, a number far higher than the general US population. The Air and Space force has about 326,000 active duty personnel.