Air Force officials were ordered on July 27 to not discipline airmen who are seeking religious exemptions to the military's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
"Those class members whose religious objections were based on mRNA technology or the use of fetal-derived cell lines are no longer substantially burdened by the COVID-19 vaccine requirement because this option is now available," the lawyers said.
Of the 14 Air Force members who died from COVID-19 since March 14, 12 were unvaccinated, according to Schneider.
McFarland wasn't convinced.
"Defendants fail to raise any persuasive arguments," he said.
Thousands AffectedThe Air Force has approximately 497,000 members. Of those, 97.1 percent have received a primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine as of July 11.
The small number of religious exemptions granted is "farcical," McFarland said earlier this year. He said the Air Force "'has effectively stacked the deck' against service members seeking religious exemptions."