Roughly 13,000 Marines have refused to be vaccinated for Covid-19 and that reluctance has the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David Berger, concerned about the service’s ability to fulfill its mission to deploy at a moment’s notice.
“We have to be ready to go,” Berger told an audience at the 2021 Aspen Security Forum, as reported by Seapower magazine.
“The ones who flat out refuse? You’d have to ask each individual Marine their reasons why,” Berger said, according to Seapower. “I think we’re challenged by disinformation. All that swirls around the internet. But marines are trained and ‘taught that your unit is more important than you are.’”
The deadline for all troops to be vaccinated is Nov. 28. The ready reserve is the largest component of unvaccinated Marines, with some 56 percent still not having received the required inoculations. Those who refuse will be reassigned to jobs in which they are not exposed to their vaccinated comrades. They also could also be barred from reenlisting, promotion or holding command, Seapower reported. Administrative separations could loom for some as well.
“It’s black and white from the secretary of defense. We need to protect ourselves,” Berget said. “We wrote that instruction to make it clear all the way down. There is no gray area. You must get vaccinated.”
Berger also said that Marine recruits receive 12 other vaccinations during boot camp, Seapower reported.