Forty percent of Marines are declining the coronavirus vaccine, according to data obtained by CNN.
There has been a 38.9 percent decline rate, but the Marines are providing information to individuals to encourage them to get the vaccine.
“The Navy and Marine Corps are providing substantial educational information broadly, and working with commands to ensure Marines, Sailors, and beneficiaries have accurate information regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccines to encourage individuals to get immunized,” Capt. Andrew Wood, a Marines spokesman, told The Hill in a statement.
The data showed that 75,500 Marines have received the vaccine and 48,000 have declined it. Overall, the acceptance rate is 61.1 percent.
The numbers for the data include reserves, active-duty and Individual Mobilization Augmentee Marines, according to CNN.
Wood said the Marines mostly include “young and healthy individuals” and that there are multiple reasons they might decline the vaccine.
“For example, an individual may have deferred until later to allow others to get the vaccine, they may have gotten the vaccine on their own and not through military channels, they could be unavailable for a second dose in the prescribed time period for the vaccines that require two doses, they could expect the vaccine to become mandatory and are waiting until then, or they may be allergic to one of the compounds in the vaccine,” Wood said.
The military previously estimated that 66 percent would accept the coronavirus vaccine, according to CNN. Wood said any individual who originally declined the vaccine can change their mind and receive it.
“We continue to make the vaccine available to Marines, Sailors, civilians, contractors and authorized beneficiaries based on the prioritization schedule listed in the [Department of Defense] population schema,” Wood said.
Since the vaccines have only emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, the military can not require that service members get vaccinated.
Camp Lejeune in North Carolina saw a 57 percent decline rate for the vaccine, the data showed.
“We fully understand that widespread acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine provides us with the best means to defeat this pandemic,” Wood said.