US soldiers who have not taken up the offer of a covid jab face a possible court martial. The deadline for navy and marine corps personnel to be jabbed passed yesterday.
According to the BBC:
According to data from the beginning of November, of the 1.3 million active-duty US personnel, 97% had received at least one vaccine dose. The data shows that 88% of active-duty troops are fully vaccinated.
With reservist and national guard personnel included, however, the proportion of fully vaccinated troops falls to 69%.
Vaccination levels, however, vary widely between the services, ranging from nearly 100% of the US Navy’s 349,600 active-duty sailors who have received one dose to only 47% of the Marine Corp’s approximately 38,500 reservists who have had the same.
The vaccination rate in the Marines – the lowest of all the services – will leave up to 10,000 Marines not vaccinated by the deadline.
In early November, vaccine hesitancy in the Marine Corps, the smallest of the services, prompted a video message from Commandant David Berger warning that the force’s mission readiness could suffer unless “every single Marine” is vaccinated.
“We don’t have extra Marines. We’re a pretty small force,” he said. “We have to make sure that everybody on the team is ready to go all the time. That’s our job.”
A letter was sent to marines in October, warning that those who refused and hadn’t received an exemption would be “processed for administrative separation.”
According to Victor Hansen, a former Army Judge Advocate General and professor at New England Law:
“The harshest punishments are likely to be reserved for personnel who are more blatant in their disobedience, such as lobbying other troops to refuse the vaccine.
That’s undermining good order and discipline by encouraging other soldiers to disobey the order. That gets at the heart of military organisation. I can imagine a command might take a strict response to that to send a message to others.”