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The Marine Corps has now discharged more than 200 service members for refusing to follow COVID-19 vaccination mandates

A United States Marine prepares to receive the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at Camp Hansen on April 28, 2021 in Kin, Japan.

Carl Court/Getty Images

  • The Marines Corps has now discharged 206 members for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Active-duty Marines and Reserve members were required to be fully vaccinated by November 14 and December 14, respectively.
  • “The speed with which the disease transmits among individuals has increased risk to our Marines,” a spokesperson told Insider. 

The US Marine Corps has now discharged a total of 206 service members for refusing to adhere to a vaccination mandate, up from more than 100 troops who were first removed on December 16. 

Under the mandate, all active-duty Marines and Reserve members were required to be fully vaccinated by November 14 and December 14, respectively. Jay Hernandez, spokesperson for Marine Corps Aviation, told Insider in a statement that members who fail to obtain a “pending or approved administrative exemption, medical exemption, or religious accommodation, or appeal, will be processed for administrative separation.” 

“All current exemption requests are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis,” Hernandez said in the statement. “Each request will be given full consideration with respect to the facts and circumstances submitted in the request.”

Currently 94% of active-duty members are fully vaccinated, while 83% of Reserves are fully inoculated, according to Marine Corps data. Hernandez told Insider in the statement that the Marines Corps “recognizes COVID-19 as a readiness issue.”

“The speed with which the disease transmits among individuals has increased risk to our Marines and the Marine Corps’ mission,” Hernandez said. “We are confident the vaccine protects our Marines, our communities, and the Nation.”

To date, the service has approved 1,007 administrative or medical exemptions. The Marines Corps has also received a total of 3,247 requests for religious exemption from the vaccine, of which 3,115 have been processed and none have been approved. 

All Marine service members removed from the service for refusing vaccines are protected from dishonorable discharge under protections put in place by the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden on Monday. The removal must be classified as honorable or “general under honorable conditions,” according to Politico.

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