FACT CHECK: Did 27 Air Force Pilots Resign Over Mandated Covid-19 Vaccines?
An image shared on Facebook claims 27 U.S. Air Force pilots resigned due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Check Your Fact didn’t find any evidence 27 Air Force pilots resigned at once due to mandated vaccines. The claim originated from a website that says it publishes “humor, parody, and satire.”
The Pentagon announced after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer vaccine in August that COVID-19 vaccines would be mandatory for U.S. military service personnel who don’t qualify for a medical or religious exemption, the Associated Press reported. In an Aug. 24 memo to the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, “To defend this Nation, we need a healthy and ready force. After careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership, and with the support of the President, I have determined that mandatory vaccination against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is necessary to protect the Force and defend the American people.”
An image on Facebook shows what looks like a screen grab of a news article with the headline “27 U.S. Air Force Pilots Resign Over Covid-19 Vaccination Mandate.” The screen grab in the image appears to stem from a Sept. 1 article published by Real Raw News. While Real Raw News includes a disclaimer that states it publishes “humor, parody, and satire,” the Facebook post includes no such warning, seemingly passing the information off as genuine.
Check Your Fact reviewed press releases on the Department of Defense website but found no mention of 27 Air Force pilots resigning at once over COVID-19 vaccines. A wider internet search likewise turned up no national media outlets reporting on such an incident.
“We are unaware of any pilots that have resigned their commissions due to the COVID vaccine,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Air Force Press Desk told Check Your Fact in an email. (RELATED: Tweet Claims To Show Video Of Indian Soldiers Collapsing After Being Vaccinated)
This is not the first time inaccurate claims on Facebook have stemmed from a Real Raw News article. Check Your Fact recently debunked the baseless claim that Hunter Biden was arrested by the military, which originated from a Real Raw News article.