A sailor assigned to Navy Reserve Center Fort Worth, Texas, has become at least the 16th sailor to die due to COVID-19 complications, according to the U.S. Navy.
Electronics Technician 1st Class William E. Matthews, 47, died Nov. 24 after battling COVID-19 at the Lewisville Medical Hospital in Texas since Nov. 6.
“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family, shipmates and friends of Petty Officer Matthews during this extremely difficult time,” the Navy said in a news release. “Anyone experiencing COVID-related symptoms is encouraged to seek medical attention immediately.”
A total of 75 service members have died due to complications from COVID-19, according to Pentagon figures updated Nov. 24.
The Navy said 97 percent of active duty sailors and 93.9 percent of the total force are fully vaccinated, and 99.8 percent of active duty sailors and 96.9 percent of the total force have received at least one COVID-19 shot, according to figures released Nov. 24.
Active duty sailors had to receive their last dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by Nov. 14 to meet the Nov. 28 deadline to become fully vaccinated. There’s a little more time for those in the Navy Reserve, who have until Dec. 14 to meet the deadline for fully vaccinated status on Dec. 28.
The Navy’s COVID Consolidated Disposition Authority will move to separate sailors who refuse to comply with the mandatory vaccination policy and do not receive a medical or administrative exemption, such as a religious waiver.
The Navy has approved six medical exemptions and zero religious waivers for the COVID-19 vaccine.