206 Marines Booted From Corps for Refusing Vaccine

206 Marines Booted From Corps for Refusing Vaccine
U.S. Marines with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, RCT 2nd Battalion 8th Marines Echo Co. step off in the early morning during an operation to push out Taliban fighters on July 18, 2009, in Herati, Afghanistan. (Joe Raedle/Getty)

More than 200 U.S. Marines unvaccinated against COVID-19 have been discharged, the Washington Examiner reported Thursday.

Active-duty Marines had until Nov. 14 to get vaccinated or apply for an exemption. Those members who did not comply would face being discharged.

A total of 206 Marines had been discharged through Wednesday, a service branch spokesperson told the Examiner.

The number of discharged Marines represented slightly more than one-tenth of 1% of the total active-duty members — roughly 182,500 — the Examiner reported.

The latest statistics showed that 94% of active-duty Marines were fully vaccinated, with another 1% having been partially vaccinated.

Roughly 9,125 active-duty Marines — 5% of the active force — had not been vaccinated, though that number included members who received or requested an exemption.

The Examiner reported that slightly more than 1,000 medical or administrative exemptions to the vaccine had been granted by the Marines. No religious exemptions — there have been 3,247 requests — had been granted.

The Marines processed and rejected 3,115 religious exemption requests. The remaining ones have yet to be determined.

A total of 83% of reserve Marines, who had until mid-December to get vaccinated, are vaccinated. Partially vaccinated reservists push that percentage to 86%.

Any U.S. service members discharged over their refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine cannot be discharged under less than the general designation — that's due to a provision in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Joe Biden.

Military leaders warned for months that service members would face consequences if they did not follow the order to get the COVID-19 vaccine. They began enforcing the mandate in early December.

"Marines pride themselves on being a ready force," Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Andrew Wood told The Washington Post at the beginning of the month. "We don't quite yet have a solid understanding of how many Marines are going to be administrative separated, or the impacts on readiness.

"There are no Marines we are trying to throw away. We're a small force already."

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has said there are "active" conversations going on within Defense Department leadership about whether to mandate booster shots, the Examiner reported.

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