Semper coronavirus: Almost 40 percent of Marines are declining COVID-19 vaccine.
By Crystal Bell
Nearly 40 percent of US Marines are declining COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a new report.
Some 75,500 Marines have received vaccine shots, CNN reported Friday. But 48,000 other Marines have turned the shots down. That means that out of all the Marines offered shots so far, 38.9 percent are saying no.
Another 102,000 Marines have not yet been offered vaccines.
These stats are even more grim than reports from February suggesting that overall, about a third of military personnel are declining to be vaccinated.
Back then, Air Force Maj. Gen. Jeff Taliaferro, the Joint Staff’s vice director for operations, told a congressional panel soldiers need education “to help them understand the benefits” of the vaccine.
There have been 273,503 cases of COVID-19 within the Department of Defense as of April 9, according to Military.com.
Part of the reason the declination rates are so high among service members is that vaccinations for COVID-19 are not yet mandatory, and those who decline the vaccine can still be deployed.
“We’ve already demonstrated over the last year that we’re fully capable of operating in a COVID environment,” Taliaferro said in February.
In a statement to CNN, Marine Corps spokeswoman Col. Kelly Frushour said they were focusing on “building vaccine confidence” among personnel.
“We fully understand that widespread acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine provides us with the best means to defeat the pandemic.”