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• The claim is sourced from a website that publishes “humor, parody and satire.”
• The Air Force told us that it has no knowledge of any pilots who have resigned due to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
After the Food and Drug administration fully approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the Pentagon announced that it would mandate that all U.S. armed service members be fully vaccinated.
According to social media users, the decision led a large number of Air Force pilots to resign their commissions in protest.
"27 U.S. Air Force pilots resign over COVID-19 vaccination mandate," reads the headline on an article posted by a Facebook user.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The claim is unfounded. We found no coverage of any such resignations by a credible news outlet.
The Pentagon announced on Aug. 23 that it would add the COVID-19 vaccine to a list of as many as 17 different vaccines required for members of the armed forces. A Pentagon spokesperson told the Associated Press that the goal was to keep service members safe from the virus and prevent outbreaks that could affect America’s ability to defend itself.
The article shared on Facebook was published by Real Raw News, which has published misinformation in the past. PolitiFact has debunked several claims posted to the site, including that the military has arrested Hunter Biden and that the military has taken control of the White House to facilitate Donald Trump’s return as president.
In a disclaimer, Real Raw News acknowledges that some of its content goes beyond the facts: "Information on this site is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes," it says. "This website contains humor, parody and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice of legal counsel."
The text of the Real Raw News article does not name any sources, instead quoting several anonymous fighter pilots.
The Air Force denied that it had any knowledge of 27 pilots resigning over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
"We are unaware of any pilots that have resigned their commissions due to the COVID vaccine," Deana Heitzman, a spokesperson with the Air Force press desk, told PolitiFact.
We rate this post Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, Sep. 4, 2021
Associated Press, Pentagon to mandate COVID-19 vaccine, as Pfizer is approved, Aug. 23, 2021
PolitiFact, No, the military didn’t arrest Hunter Biden, Sep. 8, 2021
PolitiFact, No, the military doesn’t control the White House, Jul. 30, 2021
Email interview with Deana Heitzman, Air Force spokesperson, Sep. 10, 2021
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