Marines on track to have military’s lowest vaccine compliance
The Marine Corps is currently on track to have the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate among all U.S. military branches, though it has managed to have nearly 94 percent of its personnel at least partially immunized against the coronavirus.
As The Washington Post reported, nearly 10,000 active-duty Marines will not be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 when the deadline passes in the next few days. However, the Post reported that 94 percent of Marine personnel have either met the vaccine requirement or are expected to.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered all service members to get vaccinated in a memo sent out in August, allowing the military branches to set their own deadlines.
Marine Corps service members are required to complete their COVID-19 vaccination regimen by Nov. 28. As patients are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose, it is already too late for those who did not receive their final dose by Nov. 14.
Marines currently have one week to show documentation of their full vaccination or risk being kicked out of service.
Former Marine Corps officer and Pentagon spokesman David Lapan told the Post that Marine leadership should be alarmed that the force’s belief in always obeying orders and always being prepared has been tarnished by vaccine hesitancy.
“Marines know they’re an expeditionary force, and pride themselves on discipline and being first to fight,” said Lapan.
The Post noted that the Marine Corps is the smallest U.S. military branch, with about 183,000 members. It is currently unclear how many members have requested religious or medical exemptions from having to comply with the vaccine mandate.
In a statement provided to The Hill, the Marine Corps said it “recognizes COVID-19 as a readiness issue. The rise of the highly transmissible Delta variant and the speed with which it transmits among individuals have increased risk to our Marines and the Marine Corps’ mission. We are confident the vaccine protects our Marines, our communities and the Nation.”
According to the Marine Corps, 91 percent of active duty members are fully vaccinated and at least 94 percent are partially vaccinated.
A report detailing the number of approved vaccination exemptions will be published after the vaccination deadline has passed.
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