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40% of US Marines have refused Covid-19 vaccine
Nearly 40% of the 123,000 Marines who have had the chance to receive the vaccine for the illness caused by the coronavirus have turned it down, according to force-wide data obtained by Military.com.
About 75,500 Marines are fully or partially vaccinated against Covid-19, which has killed over 3.1 million people worldwide, including two dozen US troops. Another 48,000 Marines who’ve been given the chance to take one of the vaccinations, which medical experts say significantly decrease the likelihood one will die or require hospitalization from the disease, have declined it, Marine Corps data shows.
Members of II Marine Expeditionary Force, based in North Carolina, have been about twice as likely to decline the vaccine compared to personnel on the West Coast or in Japan.
The Marine Corps has offered the vaccine to about 29,300 II MEF personnel. About 17,500 – or nearly 60% of them – have turned it down. That decline rate is compared to about 28% of the 30,600 Marines assigned to I MEF on the West Coast and about one-third of the 22,400 Marines assigned to the Japan-based III MEF.
About 102,000 Marine personnel have not yet been offered the vaccine, said Capt. Andrew Wood, a spokesman at the Pentagon. As for those declining it, Wood said there are a host of reasons why a Marine might be turning it down. The Marine Corps is a mostly young and healthy force. They might be giving up the shot so others can have the chance to take it, Wood said, or might be waiting for the vaccine to become mandatory. Just because they turn it down once doesn’t mean they’ll be shut out from getting another opportunity