The Marine Corps has a tough response for active duty service members who don’t get their shots by the branch’s coronavirus vaccination deadline.
As the Military Times reports:
The Corps will kick out every Marine who refuses the COVID-19 vaccine and fails to receive an approved exemption by the Nov. 28 deadline, a new administrative message said.
Outlining Termination Procedures
Barring an approved administrative, medical or religious accommodation, or a pending appeal, Marines who fail to meet the deadline will be processed for administrative separation, the MARADMIN said. General court-martial convening authorities will “retain authority to take any additional adverse administrative or disciplinary action” deemed appropriate.
A Marine is considered to have “refused the vaccine” when they do not have approved administrative, medical or religious accommodation, or a pending appeal, and they “received and willfully disobeyed a lawful order from a superior commissioned officer to be vaccinated against COVID-19;” the MARADMIN said.
Exemptions Are Rare
The Navy and Marine Corps have approved five requests for medical exemptions to its vaccine mandate. Meanwhile, the Air Force has approved 336 administrative exemptions, including religious exemptions. The Army has granted 106.
Obtaining a waiver is a lengthy process. Authorities have granted medical exemptions for troops with conditions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers high-risk.
For those citing religious opposition, the process is much more involved. Decisions are approved by service personnel directorates or medical commands, with the recommendation of commanders, after consultation with staff judge advocates, chaplains and physicians.
As part of longstanding regulations, service members seeking religious exemptions for vaccination have to write a short essay on the reasons for their opposition, then be counseled legally, medically and spiritually.
Roughly 7% of the Corps remains unvaccinated. Across all service branches, the number of unvaccinated swells to nearly 60,000 active personnel.