(breitbart) – More than 200 Marines have been kicked out of the Marine Corps for choosing not to take the coronavirus vaccine, the Marine Corps announced Thursday.
“To date, 206 Marines have been separated from the Marine Corps with the vaccine refusal discharge code,” the Marine Corps said in an a press release Thursday morning.
With thousands more Marines unvaccinated, more discharges are likely on the way.
U.S. President Joe Biden during a meeting with the White House COVID-19 Response Team on December 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
However, 5 percent of active Duty Marines are still not vaccinated. Out of a roughly 180,000 active-duty force, that is about 9,000 Marines.
The deadline for Marine reservists passed on December 28, with 14% of Marine reservists not vaccinated. With approximately 35,500 Marine reservists, that is about 5,000 additional Marines who may be separated.
U.S Marines (AFP/WAKIL KOHSAR)
Currently, of the roughly 14,000 Marines who are unvaccinated, the service has approved 1,007 medical and administrative exemptions from the vaccine.
To date, there have been 3,247 requests for religious accommodation, with 3,115 requests processed. However, zero have been approved.
Marines requesting religious accommodation are receiving the same denial letter, despite the circumstances and despite a legal requirement for the service to consider each request according to its individual circumstances, Breitbart News previously reported.
The Marine Corps said in its release:
Marines who request exemption due to religious accommodation will have their request forwarded to Manpower and Reserve Affairs for adjudication. All current exemption requests are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Each request will be given full consideration with respect to the facts and circumstances submitted in the request.
The Marine 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. We are confident the vaccine protects our Marines, our communities, and the Nation.
The service said medical exemptions can be permanent or temporary, but administrative exemptions are typically short-term in nature and related to logistical considerations.
“Any active duty Marine and Ready Reserve Marine in an active duty status who did not receive a final vaccination dose by Nov. 14 or any reserve component Marine who did not receive a final vaccination dose by Dec. 14 is considered unvaccinated. All unvaccinated Marines without a pending or approved administrative exemption, medical exemption, or religious accommodation, or appeal, will be processed for administrative separation,” the Marine Corps said.
So far, 27 active-duty airmen have also been discharged, as previously reported by Breitbart News.