More than 100 Marine Corps members have been kicked out of the force for not getting a COVID-19 vaccine, the military branch announced Thursday.
Marine officials decided to discharge 103 individuals, spokespersons for the branch told news outlets.
The Army on Thursday announced it had relieved six active-duty leaders, including two battalion commanders, for refusing to get a vaccine, as well as issuing over 2,700 reprimands to soldiers for not complying with the vaccine mandate.
The Air Force was first in taking action against refusals, discharging 27 members, the branch announced earlier this week.
The Navy is moving to discharge members who did not comply with the mandate.
The mandate requires troops to be fully vaccinated, or have completed a primary regimen, by a certain date, unless they’ve applied for an exemption.
Few exemptions are being granted. There’s no record of a single religious exemption being granted yet to any member of the military.
Air Force, Navy, and Marines members faced deadlines to get a jab or apply for an exemption last month. The Army’s came on Dec. 15.
Approximately 468,459 active-duty soldiers, or 98 percent of the active-duty force, have received at least one vaccine dose, and most met the definition of fully vaccinated, Army officials said.
“Thank you to the medical staff who have been supporting the pandemic response at home and to the vaccinated Soldiers who put the health and welfare of their fellow Soldiers and families first. To those who continue to refuse the vaccine and are not pending a final decision on a medical or administrative exemption, I strongly encourage you to get the vaccine. If not, we will begin involuntary separation proceedings,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said in a statement.
Across the entire force, 90 percent of active-duty troops are fully vaccinated.
That means roughly 134,500 are not.
The impact of discharging thousands of service members hasn’t been determined yet, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Virginia.
“I just don’t think that we’re there yet because there are still opportunities here for people to do the right thing,” Kirby said.
The Senate passed a bill this week that would prevent dishonorable discharges over refusing to comply with the order.
While some troops are waiting to hear back about exemption requests, others are outright refusing to get a vaccine or ask for an exemption.
Some are frustrated by what they see as military officials not correctly following the exemption process, lawyers representing them have told The Epoch Times.
The lack of religious exemptions will bolster existing and future lawsuits against the Pentagon over the mandate, Sean Timmons, a managing partner at Tully Rinckey, said last month.
“Ultimately it may wind up costing the government a lot of money to reinstate people who are prematurely separated from their military occupations,” he said.