Active duty Marines must be fully vaccinated or receive a medical, religious or administrative exemption by Nov. 28 in order to stay in the Corps, according to a previously published administrative message.
“Medical exemptions can be either permanent or temporary, based on the duration of the condition which qualifies the service member for medical exemption,” Capt. Andrew Wood said in a Thursday email. “Administrative exemptions are typically short-term in nature and related to logistical considerations.”
“All current exemption requests are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis,” he added. “Each request will be given full consideration with respect to the facts and circumstances submitted in the request.”
Only 75 percent of the Marine Corps Reserve has been recorded as partially or fully vaccinated, but those Marines have an extra month to meet the vaccination requirement, with a deadline of Dec. 28.
The difference in active duty and reserve vaccination rate may have more to do with the lack of oversight the Corps has on reservists than actual vaccine hesitancy.
“They may have gotten the vaccine last week and we wouldn’t know it,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said on Nov. 4 at the Aspen Security Forum in Washington.
Those who fail to meet that deadline, either active duty or reserve, will be kicked out of the Corps, the administrative message said.
Marines should hear back about exemption requests within a week, Berger said at the Aspen Security Forum.
Though Marines technically still have 10 days to be fully vaccinated, it already is too late to start the vaccination process.
Marines have the option to receive the Pfizer or Moderna two-shot vaccine regimen or the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The deadline to receive the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine passed on Oct. 24, according to a MARADMIN. The deadline to receive the first dose of Moderna passed on Oct. 17 and the deadline to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine passed on Nov. 14.
The Corps has not said how many Marines have requested exemptions, nor has it said how many exemptions have been granted.
As of Oct. 20, no religious exemptions had been granted to Marines for the COVID-19 vaccine, Wood said at the time.
“There is no record of any religious accommodations for vaccination being granted by HQMC in the past 10 years,” he added.
Depending on the number of exemptions, the active duty Marine Corps may boot just under 11,000 Marines for failure to follow orders and take the vaccine.
At the Aspen Security Forum Berger said he did not foresee kicking out “thousands of Marines.
“We’ll have to wait until the end of November to see,” he said.