More US Marines demobilized for vaccine refusal
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Marine Corps fired 66 Marines over the past week for refusing to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as required by the military, overtaking other disciplinary services linked to the shooting.
The Corps’ latest actions, which came as COVID-19 cases increased across the country due to the omicron variant, brought the total number of Marines excluded from service for vaccine refusal to 169.
“The rate at which the disease is transmitted between individuals has increased the risk to our Marines and the Marine Corps mission,” the Marine Corps said in a statement, although the percentage of people who were at least partially vaccinated remained. at 95%, the same as last week.
The increase in infection also affected near the No. 2 leader of the Ministry of Defense. The Pentagon announced Thursday that seven staff members who traveled with Assistant Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks last week to Hawaii, California and Nebraska have tested positive for the virus. Hicks and members of his staff have so far tested negative.
Hicks’ trip included stops at US Naval Amphibious Base Coronado in San Diego and US Strategic Command in Omaha. She also visited the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Hawaii and met with families who have been affected by fuel contamination of drinking water at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The department said tests showing the positive results were carried out at the end of the trip and contact tracing was now underway at all bases, hotels and other facilities visited by Hicks.
The United States averages 149,000 infections per day, as omicron appears to spread up to three times faster than the delta variant.
Officials say vaccines, especially with boosters, boost protections against more serious illnesses. And the Pentagon has ordered all military personnel – active duty, national guard, and reserves – to be vaccinated, saying it is essential to maintain the health and readiness of the force.
Already this week, the Pentagon said 1,000 active-duty troops would be deployed to the states to help reinforce besieged healthcare workers.
The Marine Corps has been the most aggressive in removing troops who refuse the vaccine. And he has also refused all religious requests for vaccine exemptions that have been processed. As of Thursday, 3,080 of the 3,192 requests received – over 96% – were processed and rejected.
The marine vaccination rate is the lowest among the military services. The Army, Navy, and Air Force all have near or over 98% who got at least one hit.