Thousands of service members saying no to COVID-19 vaccine

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In this Feb. 9, 2021 photo provided by the Department of Defense, Hickam 15th Medical Group host the first COVID-19 mass vaccination on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. By the thousands, U.S. service members are refusing or putting off the COVID-19 vaccine, as frustrated commanders scramble to knock down internet rumors and find the right pitch that will convince troops to take the shot. Some Army units are seeing as few as a third agree to the vaccine, others are higher. (U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr./Department of Defense via AP)

By LOLITA C. BALDOR

WASHINGTON (AP) — By the thousands, U.S. service members are refusing or putting off the COVID-19 vaccine. Frustrated commanders are trying to knock down internet rumors and find the right pitch that will persuade troops to take the shot. Some Army units are seeing as few as one-third agree to the vaccine. Military leaders searching for answers believe they have identified imminent deployment as a convincer. Sailors on ships heading to sea last week, for example, were choosing to take the shot at rates exceeding 80% to 90%. The military’s resistance comes as troops are deploying to administer shots at vaccination centers around the country and as leaders look to American forces to set an example for the nation.