The Marine Corps has granted just two religious exemptions to the over 3,200 applicants appealing the military COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
As of January 12th, according to the Marine Corps Times, two out of 3,212 religious exemption requests have been granted for the vaccine, which was mandated for all active-duty Marines to receive by November 28th, 2o21. The figure amounts to just 0.06 percent of requests being granted.
If marines don’t receive either a COVID-19 vaccine or an exemption, they will be discharged.
Roughly 150 exemption requests are still awaiting review.
“Due to privacy considerations, we are unable to discuss the specifics of any individual requests,” Capt. Andrew Wood commented to the Marine Corps Times.
He outlined the review process for marines seeking COVID-19 vaccine exemptions:
The initial request is reviewed by the first lieutenant colonel commander, colonel commander and commanding general in the requesting Marine’s chain of command before being sent off to deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs.
Within Manpower and Reserve Affairs, a three-person panel reviews each request before making a recommendation to the deputy commandant.
If the request is denied, the Marine who initially filed the request has the right to appeal to the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, who then personally reviews each appeal before making a final decision.
Since the vaccine mandates were first rolled out, the Marine Corps has been the least vaccinated force in the Department of Defense.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger blamed the hesitancy on online “disinformation.”
“You have to ask each individual Marines their reason why,” Berger said on November 4th at the Aspen Security Forum.
“But I think we’re challenged by disinformation that still swirls around about where the genesis, how did this vaccine get approved, is it safe is it ethical ― all that swirls around on the internet and they see all that they read all that,” the commandant lamented.