(FiveNation.com)- As of Thursday, more than 200 members of the U.S. Marines have thus far been discharged because they remained not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The deadline for active-duty members of the Marines to become fully vaccinated was November 14. By that date, they either had to prove they were fully vaccinated or apply for one of the available exemptions. Those who didn’t comply with those two options were subject to being discharged.
A spokesperson for the Marines said that through Wednesday, a total of 206 members of the Marines were discharged for that reason.
According to the Washington Examiner, that number is roughly one-10th of 1% of the total number of active-duty Marines in the country, which is 182,500.
Statistics recently released by the Marines showed that 94% of their active-duty members had proven they were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and another 1% were partially vaccinated.
Approximately 5% of the active Marines were not vaccinated as of the November 14 deadline. However, that total included all members who either requested or received an exemption to the mandate.
The Marines had issued just more than 1,000 administrative or medical exemptions to the COVID-19 mandate. While there were 3,247 requests made for religious exemptions, the Marines haven’t granted any of them at all.
Of that total, 3,115 of the requests for religious exemption were denied, while the remaining ones still haven’t been decided yet.
In addition to the active-duty members, 83% of the Marines’ reserves have been fully vaccinated. When adding in those reserve members who were partially vaccinated, the total inches up to 86%. Members of the Marines reserves had a mid-December deadline to be vaccinated.
Leaders in the military had been warning members of the different branches that they would have severe consequences to face if they didn’t comply with the mandate to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Various branches began to enforce the mandate earlier this month.
In early December, captain Andrew Wood, a spokesman for the Marine Corps, commented to The Washington Post:
“Marines pride themselves on being a ready force. We don’t quite yet have a solid understanding of how many Marines are going to be administrative separated, or the impacts on readiness.
“There are no Marines we are trying to throw away. We’re a small force already.”
To this point, the military branches are requiring all members to be fully vaccinated, which is defined as having both shots of the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines or one shot of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
That being said, John Kirby, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said there are “active” discussions going on right now at the Defense Department about whether booster shots should be mandated as well.
That could present a little more challenging to enforce from an administrative standpoint, as booster shots currently can only be taken a certain amount of time after a person is fully vaccinated.
In other words, each member of the military would have a different date at which he or she would even be eligible for a booster shot.