- The US Marines have fired 103 service members for refusing to take their COVID-19 shots.
- The Army removed six leaders ranked up to lieutenant colonel for the same reason, per Politico.
- Various US military branches are already discharging actively-serving troops for vaccine refusal.
The US Marine Corps fired 103 Marines, and the US Army removed six active-duty leaders from service for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, the military branches announced Thursday.
The fired Marines had until November 28 to receive their jabs or apply for an exemption or be administratively removed from the force, The Marine Corps Times reported.
The Army said the six leaders removed from Army service included two battalion commanders.
Their ranks ranged from sergeant to lieutenant colonel, an unnamed Army spokesperson told Politico.
The Army said it also issued 2,767 written reprimands to soldiers who refused Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin’s vaccine order, for which each military service set its timeline.
Around 96% of the Army’s 461,209 soldiers had been fully vaccinated at the time of its December 15 deadline, the service said. Per Army figures, approximately 10,000 soldiers have not been vaccinated as of Thursday.
“Vaccinating our soldiers against COVID-19 is first and foremost about Army readiness,” Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said in the statement.
“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,” she said. “If not, we will begin involuntary separation proceedings.”
The military allows its troops to seek religious, medical, or administrative exemptions from the vaccine, which the Army said it is still processing.
US Marine spokesperson Major Jim Stenger said the corps has approved 1,007 exemptions so far, and that 95% of its actively serving Marines have been fully vaccinated, per The Marine Corps Times.
Thursday’s announcement comes after the US Air Force said it was relieving 27 airmen from duty because of their vaccine refusal. Meanwhile, the US Navy said on Wednesday that it will begin discharging over 3,000 sailors who declined the shots and did not seek exemptions, CNN reported.
The Air Force has 97% of its active force fully vaccinated while the Navy is at about 98%, according to the latest official data.