More than 200 Marines removed for refusing COVID-19 vaccine

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(The Hill) — More than 200 Marines have been removed for refusing to comply with the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. 

Capt. Andrew Wood, a Marine Corps spokesperson, said in an emailed statement that 206 Marines have been separated to date for not getting vaccinated. 

The new numbers come as the military ramps up discipline for service members who refuse to get vaccinated.

Earlier this month, the Marines announced that 103 service members had been separated for refusing to comply. Last week, that number rose to 169. 

The fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which President Biden signed into law on Monday, stipulates that service members who are discharged for not complying with the mandate receive at least a general discharge.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin mandated vaccinations for the military in late August, but each service is responsible for enforcing its own deadlines. The deadline for active-duty Marines to be vaccinated was Nov. 28, and the deadline for reservists to comply was Tuesday.   

Overall, 95 percent of the more than 182,000 active-duty Marines are at least partially vaccinated, while 94 percent are fully vaccinated, Wood said in the statement. These numbers are on par with the vaccination rate from earlier this month.

However, the vaccination rate for reservists increased, with at least 86 percent of reservists at least partially vaccinated and 83 percent fully inoculated.

“The Marine Corps is still tracking 1,007 approved administrative or medical exemptions,” Wood added. 

However, the number of requests for religious accommodations has risen to 3,247. Of these, the service has not approved any of the 3,115 requests that it has processed.

Overall, more than 1.9 million service members have either been partially or fully vaccinated, according to data available from the Department of Defense.

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