Marines OK first religious exemptions for COVID-19 vaccine - Market News
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Marines OK first religious exemptions for COVID-19 vaccine

The US Marine Corps has approved its first two COVID-19 vaccine exemptions on religious grounds, something no other military service has done to date

WASHINGTON — The US Marine Corps has approved its first two COVID-19 vaccine exemptions on religious grounds, something no other military service has done to date.

The two waivers are the first to be approved by the Corps in 10 years, the Marines said Friday.

So far, as of Thursday, the Marine Corps has received 3,350 requests for religious exemptions from the mandatory vaccine and rejected 3,212. For privacy reasons, no information was provided about the two specific approvals.

In a statement, the Marines said that “all current waiver requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Each request will be considered fully in consideration of the facts and circumstances submitted with the request.”

According to the Marines, waiver requests are first reviewed by commanders and then forwarded to a three-member board at Manpower and Reserve Affairs. The board makes a recommendation and the deputy human resources commander makes the decision. Marines may appeal denials to the Deputy Commander of the Marine Corps.

However, the Marines have also been much faster than the other military services in firing troops who refuse to receive the vaccine. On Thursday, the Corps fired 351 Marines for refusing to fire.

The Air Force said earlier this week it had fired 87 pilots, while the Navy fired 20 novice sailors and the military has not taken any soldiers out of service for refusing the vaccine.

All services have granted other medical and administrative exemptions, which are much more common.

As of this week, all military services say at least 97% of their armed forces have received at least one shot.