The Marines Corps announced on Thursday that 103 Marines have been discharged for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, refusing the Pentagon mandate. The military services have begun to discharge as many as 30,000 active-duty service members who still refuse to be vaccinated.
On August 25, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed all military branches to ensure service members receive the vaccine as numbers surged over the summer. The deadline for each branch of the military was December 15 and that has passed, even after multiple opportunities to do so past the vaccination deadline.
While the percentage of vaccinated active-duty personnel in each service is at 95% or higher, the number of unvaccinated personnel is close to 30,000 service men and women.
Major Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesperson, said in an emailed statement that the Marine service members were separated with the “vaccine refusal” discharge code.
The deadline for active-duty Marines to be vaccinated has passed, but reservists still have until December 28 to comply, according to Stenger.
Stenger added, “The Marine Corps is tracking 1,007 approved exemptions. There have been 3,144 requests for religious accommodations, of which 2,863 have been processed and none have been approved.
The Marine separations come as the Navy, Army and Air Force all disclose that they have begun removing service members for refusing to comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandates.