About 75,500 Marines received vaccines as of Thursday, including fully vaccinated and partially vaccinated service men and women. About 48,000 Marines chose not to receive vaccines, for a decline rate of 38.9%.
CNN has contacted other services to find out the pass and fail rates.
The corresponding acceptance rate for vaccinations among Marines – 61.1% – is not far from the military estimate of two-thirds, or about 66%.
Another 102,000 Marines have yet to receive the vaccines. The total number of Marines includes active duty, reserves and the Marines augmented by individual mobilization.
The declination rate at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, one of the main Marine Corps bases, was much higher, at 57%, according to another dataset provided to CNN. Of the 26,400 Marines who were vaccinated, 15,100 chose not to receive them, a number that includes both the II Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installation East – Camp Lejeune. An additional 11,500 active-duty Marines are expected to be offered the vaccines.
“We fully understand that the widespread acceptance of the Covid-19 vaccine provides us with the best means to beat the pandemic. The key to tackling the pandemic is to build confidence in vaccines,” the spokesperson for the Marine Corps, Col. Kelly Frushour.
Frushour said there are a number of potential reasons a sailor may choose not to receive a vaccine, including allowing others to receive it first, waiting for it to become mandatory, taking it through d other channels or be allergic to the vaccine.
“Service members who refuse one day can change their mind and get vaccinated the next time the opportunity arises,” she said.
CNN reported last month that the vaccination rejection rate among service members could be close to 50%, a number significantly higher than the 33% figure defense officials have used publicly.
Officials say most of the hesitation about vaccines stems from concerns about the speed at which vaccines have been developed and fears about long-term effects.
The Department of Defense has approximately 2.2 million military personnel operating around the world. For every 10 percentage point drop in the acceptance rate, that’s 220,000 people who choose not to receive vaccines, a number potentially large enough to affect force readiness. The military experienced a handful of high-profile Covid outbreaks last year, including one aboard an aircraft carrier deployed in the Pacific.