Dec 17, 2021 - Health

More than 100 Marines booted for refusing the COVID vaccine

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. Marine Corps announced Thursday it has discharged 103 individuals from its ranks for refusing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Other military branches have begun addressing service members who defy the vaccination order amidst growing concern over another wave of infections fueled by the Omicron variant.

  • In August, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed all military troops to get vaccinated against COVID and directed each branch to set its own deadline.
  • The Marine Corps indicated about 95% of its personnel had received at least one dose of the vaccine, the lowest percentage among the military branches.
  • The service branch has received 3,144 requests for religious accommodation concerning the vaccination order, Maj. Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesperson, told Axios. As of Thursday, none have been approved.

Zoom out: The Army announced earlier Thursday it had relieved six active-duty leaders, including two battalion commanders. The service branch also said it issued 2,767 reprimands to members who refused the vaccination order.

What they're saying: "The Marine Corps recognizes COVID-19 as a readiness issue," Stenger said in an emailed statement.

  • "The speed with which the disease transmits among individuals has increased risk to our Marines and the Marine Corps’ mission," he added. "We are confident the vaccine protects our Marines, our communities, and the Nation."

Go deeper: Up to 10,000 to miss Marine Corps vaccine deadline

Go deeper