In a message, the Marine Corps warned those who do not get the coronavirus vaccine will be kicked out of the corps.
The Marine Administrative Message (MARADMIN), signed October 23 and posted to the Marine Corps’ website, said:
Marines refusing the COVID-19 vaccination, absent an approved administrative or medical exemption, religious accommodation, or pending appeal shall be processed for administrative separation [in accordance with] this MARADMIN and supporting references. General Court-Martial Convening Authorities (GCMCA) retain authority to take any additional adverse administrative or disciplinary action they deem appropriate.
The MARADMIN applies to both active duty and reservists.
Active-duty Marines have a deadline of November 28 to be fully vaccinated, while Marine reservists are allowed a December 28 deadline.
According to the message, those Marines that do not have an approved administrative, medical, or religious exemption are considered to have “refused vaccine,” and have “willfully disobeyed a lawful order from a superior commissioned officer to be vaccinated against COVID-19;” or if they are not able to be fully vaccinated by the deadline.
The message continued that those with pending administrative, medical, or religious exemptions requests or appeals will not be considered to “have refused the vaccine” until those requests or appeals are settled.
According to Military.com, as of October 20, the Marine Corps has not approved any religious exemption.
The message said the Marines that are not fully vaccinated are not deployable and will not be reenlisted or promoted. Unvaccinated Marine officers without approved or pending exemptions will be relieved of their command or cannot assume a command assignment.
Adding, Marines separated for refusal of vaccinations will be ineligible for involuntary separation pay and will be subject to “recoupment of any unearned special or incentive pays and advance educational assistance.”
The message said no more than 365 days from approved medical exemptions; there will be re-evaluation.
There is concern from Republican senators and lawmakers that the vaccine mandate is crippling the military, and the separation will hurt the military’s readiness.
John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary, said,”
Well, I would tell you that the secretary’s view is that one of the best ways to make sure that the force is able to do its job to defend the nation is to make sure that they’re protected against this virus. We would agree with people that argue that it’s a national security issue. And our view is that one of the best ways to be able to preserve our national security is to make sure that our men and women are protected against this virus, and therefore, are healthy and able to do their jobs to defend this country.
And we believe that the vast, vast majority and the numbers are bearing that out, of our men and women understand that too and are getting the shots and are getting themselves protected so that they can also protect their families, their units, and their communities.
As of October 20, 17% of Marines were not fully vaccinated, and 8% had not received any coronavirus vaccine.
Kirby said, “We want to respect people’s religious beliefs in the military,” but added that the number of those requesting religious exemptions “are typically very small.”
“In general, numbers of religious exemption requests for any vaccine or medicine are typically very small. We believe that, and you’ve heard the secretary say this, the vaccines are safe, they’re effective, and they are really the — one of the best ways we can preserve the readiness of the force, to make sure that our men and women are healthy and vibrant and able to do their jobs, and we believe that the vaccines allow that,” he said.