Marine Corps Grants Two Spiritual Exemptions for COVID-19 Vaccine, First for Any Service

The Marine Corps has granted two service members a everlasting non secular exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the primary army department to take action, the service introduced Thursday in a daily replace.

The Corps says that, so far, it has obtained 3,350 requests for non secular exemption to the mandate and processed 3,212. The 2 exemptions introduced Thursday are the primary for vaccines that the service has granted in a minimum of the final 10 years.

Not one of the different branches of the army has granted any non secular exemptions for COVID-19 so far.

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The Marine Corps didn’t present any particulars on the circumstances surrounding the 2 exemptions or how they differed from any of the opposite requests it has obtained. An announcement from Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Andrew Wooden cited privateness concerns in declining to supply extra specifics.

The choice to grant or deny the exemption requests lies with the Manpower and Reserve Affairs command, which is headed by Deputy Commandant Lt. Gen. David Ottignon.

The Marine Corps assertion defined that there’s a three-person Spiritual Lodging board inside Manpower and Reserve Affairs that critiques every package deal and makes a advice to Ottignon.

“The Deputy Commandant then personally critiques the content material of every package deal earlier than making a call,” the assertion from Wooden stated.

Whereas the primary to grant non secular exemptions, the Marine Corps has additionally been essentially the most aggressive department in booting troops who’ve refused the vaccine. Since Dec. 16, the Corps has discharged 351 Marines for vaccine refusal — 100 of these occurred within the final week. Against this, the Navy has discharged solely 20 sailors so far, regardless of having the identical vaccine deadline.

— Konstantin Toropin may be reached at Observe him on Twitter @ktoropin.

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