More than 200 marines discharged after refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Over 200 members of the Marine Corps have been removed over their refusal to comply with the current COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all service members.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the mandate in late August, but each branch is responsible for the process of enforcing it.

Spokesperson for the Marine Corps, Capt. Andrew Wood, confirmed the news in an emailed statement which said 206 Marines have been separated so far for not getting the coronavirus vaccine.

That note followed a similar one from early December that announced 103 service members had been separated from the Marine Corps. The number then rose to 169 last week, reflecting how the military has begun implementing stricter penalties for those who refuse vaccination. 

The COVID-19 shot was mandated for the military in late August at the direction of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, but the requirement did not lay framework for enforcing deadlines within each service.

The deadline for active-duty Marines to be vaccinated was November 28, and the deadline for reservists was last Tuesday. The National Defense Authorization Act, which President Joe Biden signed on Monday, bars service members from receiving dishonorable discharges for not complying with the mandate. Instead, they could be given at least a general discharge. 

So far, 95 percent of the more than 182,000 active-duty Marines have been partially vaccinated at the leased, as 94 percent are fully vaccinated, according to Wood’s statement. “The Marine Corps is still tracking 1,007 approved administrative or medical exemptions,” Wood said.

The number of religious accommodation requests has risen to 3,247, and of these, the service has not approved any of the 3,115 that have already been processed. Data from the Department of Defense shows that 1.9 million service members have been either partially or fully vaccinated to date. 

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