Nearly 300 servicemen separated from the Navy and Marine Corps for vaccine refusal

launches the corporal. Carlos Benitez, assigned to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, receives a COVID-19 reminder aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) March 23, 2022. US Navy Photo

The Navy and Marine Corps separated 296 service members over the past week as services continue to lay off those who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Navy, which is currently barred from separating sailors who have applied for religious exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine due to a class action lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas, fired 31 sailors over the past week. Twenty-five of those sailors were on active duty, according to the Maritime Service’s weekly COVID-19 update. The other six were reservists.

The Navy has so far separated a total of 763 sailors due to their persistent refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Navy has the second highest number of severances, with the Marine Corps severing the most among the services.

The Marine Corps separated 265 Marines last week, bringing the total number of Marines discharged to 1,594.

The Air Force separated 250 Airmen, while the Army released 176 soldiers, including two battalion commanders, according to the services’ COVID-19 updates.

Among active duty Marines, 97% are fully vaccinated, and 1% are partially vaccinated. For Navy reservists, 91% are fully immunized.

The Marine Corps approved 957 administrative or medical exemptions, as well as seven requests for religious exemption. The Marine Corps is authorized to segregate those who have been denied a religious vaccination waiver, as the service does not fall under the class action.

The Navy currently has 4,187 active duty sailors who are not fully vaccinated, a decrease of 95 from the previous week. There are 3,272 reservists who are not fully vaccinated.

The Navy had approved 26 conditional religious exemptions for active duty sailors and two for reservists because the sailors would soon be retiring or on separation leave, according to the COVID-19 update. However, these sailors are now subject to the class action and cannot be separated due to a refusal of a vaccine. Those considering early retirement instead of getting vaccinated can also end those plans pending further action in the trial.

The service approved 13 permanent medical exemptions and 249 temporary medical exemptions for active duty sailors and one permanent medical exemption and 83 temporary medical exemptions for reservists.