The US Marine Corps is on course to set a record among US military branches. The service is lagging behind the others in terms of COVID vaccination rates.
However, thousands of active-duty Marines have yet to get themselves inoculated. Meanwhile, the military deadline of November 28 is fast approaching.
Only 91% of US Marine Corps Fully Vaccinated
Only 91% of active-duty Marines completed the vaccination requirements. This can mean a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
In addition, the total number of Marines who had at least one shot of the vaccine is 94%. The remainder consists of Marine Corps personnel who have yet to disclose their vaccine status or refused the vaccine outright.
Also among the remaining 6% are those who applied for religious or medical exemptions. With the November 28 deadline approaching this week, it’s nearly impossible for many personnel to complete their vaccination requirements.
Marines Corps Lowest Among Military Branches in Vaccine Compliance
In contrast, the US Navy posted the current highest vaccination rate among military branches at 96.7% full compliance.
Meanwhile, the US Air Force placed second at 96.4% and the US Army reported a 92% full vaccination rate. However, the US Army’s deadline is December 15. This gives their personnel more time to complete their doses.
Meanwhile, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth still warned active members, which include National Guard personnel. The Army won’t renew non-compliant personnel.
However, they can still apply for an exemption. Her warnings came after looming trouble with the National Guard. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, a Republican, defied the federal vaccine mandate for military personnel.
He said he won’t require vaccinations for Oklahoma National Guard members. Many other Republicans also oppose vaccine mandates.
This includes Senator Ted Cruz, who responded to Wormuth’s memo. Cruz tweeted: “Biden admin persecuting our soldiers. This is not good for America.”
Marine Corps Leadership Counting On Members to Obey Orders
The refusal by some Marine Corps personnel provides a vexing problem for leadership. The service drills its members to the belief in obeying orders unquestionably.
This helps the service maintain its readiness as the country’s immediate crisis-response force.
According to retired Marine Corps officer and former communications official David Lapan, the vaccine mandate remains a direct order.
“Marines know they’re an expeditionary force, and pride themselves on discipline and being first to fight,” he said. Referring to that person who remains unvaccinated, “Why did they decide not to follow a direct order?” he asked.
As a result, Lapan thinks that the corps leaders should realize their mission readiness appears tarnished because of the holdouts.
‘We Need Every Single Marine Unit Vaccinated’
As November 28 draws near, the Marines’ top brass are sending last-minute reminders. Commandant David H. Berger and his senior enlisted adviser, Sergeant Major Troy Black sent a video message imploring service members to get the jab.
They also appealed to each Marine’s sense of fidelity. Together, they explained that the Marine Corps needs everyone to comply in order to remain capable.
“When something bad happens around the world and the president says, ‘I need to know how long it’s going to take to get Marines there,’ it’s too late then to get vaccinated,” Berger said. “It’s challenging for us to be able to continue the mission,” Black added, “if we’re not ready to go.”
Berger also gave a final admonition. “We need every single Marine in the unit to be vaccinated. We don’t have extra Marines.
We’re a pretty small force, and we have to make sure that everybody on the team is ready to go all the time. That’s our job,” he said.
Watch the AP Archive video reporting that the US military weighs penalties for refusing vaccines:
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