The Marine Corps has kicked out 206 troops for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, while reporting that least 95 percent of active-duty jarheads have gotten the jab.
The Corps made the announcement Thursday. The more than 200 Marines kicked out is up from 169 reported last week.
All unvaccinated Marines without pending or approved exemptions will be processed for administrative separation, officials confirmed.
Overall, 95 percent of the more than 182,000 active-duty Marines are at least partially vaccinated, while 94 percent are fully vaccinated, a Marines spokesman said.
The vaccination rate for Marine reservists went up, as well, with 86 percent of reservists at least partially vaccinated and 83 percent fully vaccinated.
The Marine Corps also announced it has received 3,247 requests for religious exemption. The military branch has not approved any of the 3,115 requests it has reviewed so far.
Active-duty Marines had until November 28 to be vaccinated while the deadline for reservists to comply was Tuesday.
The Marine Corps announced Thursday that it let go of a total of 206 troops for refusing the vaccine – which is up from 169 last week. Pictured: Marine medical personnel administer a jab at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina
The Marine Corps’ vaccination rate is now tied with the Air Force, meanwhile 98 percent of the Army is vaccinated and 99 percent of the Navy is vaccinated
This comes as U.S. military branches begin to discharge up to 30,000 active-duty service members who have continued to refuse the shot.
The military branches set their own deadlines after the Biden administration announced plans to mandate the vaccine for all U.S. service members across the branches – Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy – back in August.
With 95 percent of active-duty Marines getting the jab, the branch’s vaccination rate is now tied with the Air Force, while 98 percent of the Army is vaccinated and 99 percent of sailors in the Navy have received the vaccine, Politico reported.
Overall, more than 1.9 million service members have either been partially or fully vaccinated, according to data from the Department of Defense.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said repeatedly that getting the vaccine is critical to maintaining a healthy, ready force that can be prepared to defend the nation. The Pentagon is also weighing making the vaccine booster shots mandatory for service members.
Officials say the vaccines, particularly boosters, beef up protections against more severe illnesses.
Overall, more than 1.9 million service members have either been partially or fully vaccinated, according to data from the Department of Defense
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (pictured) has said repeatedly that getting the vaccine is critical to maintaining a healthy, ready force that can be prepared to defend the nation
The U.S. has hit a record number of COVID infections. A seven-day average of cases nationwide currently sits at 300,387, the highest of the pandemic so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
New data shows 489,267 new cases recorded on Wednesday – 15,057 of which were caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Navy officials have begun terminating the 5,731 active-duty sailors, or two percent of its active branch, who remain unvaccinated two weeks after the established deadline, leaders of the military branch confirmed in December.
Meanwhile, the Army announced it is prepared to ax 3,800 unvaccinated soldiers beginning in January and after the Air Force has already discharged 27 service members who refused the vaccine order.
The Navy has the highest vaccination rate of all military branches with 381,000 sailors – or 99 percent – vaccinated from COVID-19.
Navy officials had previously announced that unvaccinated officers and enlisted sailors eligible to retire or leave the service before June 1, 2022, will be allowed to do so with an honorable discharge.
Those who an ineligible for retirement or leave by that date will still receive an honorable discharge but ‘will be processed for separation on the basis of misconduct for refusing the lawful order to be vaccinated,’ officials explained.
However, those with more than six years of service ‘will be processed with the least favorable characterization of service, being general, under honorable conditions, barring other misconduct.’
Army officials said in December that more than 3,800 soldiers – nearly 2 percent of the military branch’s active duty-force – had flatly refused to get at least one dose of the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine as of the deadline and could be fired as early as next month.
Earlier this month, the Air Force said it discharged 27 airmen for refusing to obey a lawful order and get the COVID-19 vaccine, making them what officials believe were the first service members to be removed for disobeying the shot mandate.
The airmen were formally discharged for failure to obey an order. It is possible that some had other infractions on their records, but all had the vaccine refusal as one of the elements of their discharge.
None of those discharged had sought any type of exemption, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told The Washington Post at the time.
Across the military, the vaccine reaction has mirrored that of society as a whole, with thousands of members seeking exemptions or refusing the shots. But overall the percentage of troops – particularly active-duty members – who quickly got the shots exceeds the nationwide numbers.
Members of the U.S. military are already required to get as many as 17 vaccines, depending on where they are deployed. The requirements – which include shots for smallpox, hepatitis, polio and the flu – also provide for a number of temporary and permanent exemptions for either medical or administrative reasons.
The Pentagon has ordered all service members – active duty, National Guard and Reserves – to get the COVID vaccine, saying it is critical to maintaining the health and readiness of the force.