The Marine Corps has administratively separated 169 Marines for refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a Thursday statement.
A total of 66 Marines have been separated in the past week alone.
The active duty force had until Nov. 28 to be fully vaccinated or apply for an exemption. In previous administrative messages the Marine Corps made it clear that Marines who refused to get vaccinated or receive an exemption would be separated.
A provision in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act recently passed by Congress requires service members discharged for vaccine refusal to receive either an honorable or general discharge.
So far, the Marine Corps has approved 1,026 exemptions, according to a statement by Capt. Andrew Wood, a headquarters Marine Corps spokesman.
All the exemptions granted by the Marine Corps have been either administrative or medical, Wood said.
“To date, there have been 3,192 requests for religious accommodation concerning the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. At this time, 3,080 have been processed and zero requests have been approved,” Wood said.
The Marine Corps has no records of granting any religious exemptions to Marines in the past 10 years, Marine Corps Times previously reported.
A total of 95% of the active duty force has been fully or partially vaccinated, according to the statement, making the Corps the least vaccinated force in the Department of Defense.
The Air Force and Space Force had 96% of forces meet its Nov. 2 deadline, the Navy reported that 96.3% of active duty sailors were fully vaccinated and the active duty Army reported that 98% of its active duty force was fully vaccinated.
If the 95% vaccination rate holds, the Marine Corps may ultimately separate around 8,000 Marines.