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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Marine Corps announced Thursday that it has discharged 103 members for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

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Maj. Jim Stenger, a Marine Corps spokesperson, said in an emailed statement that the service members were separated with the “vaccine refusal” discharge code.

The move comes after the U.S. Air Force discharged 27 people for refusing to receive the vaccine.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered mandatory COVID vaccines for all U.S. military personnel in late August, ABC News reported.

Members of the Marines had until Nov. 28 to get the shots, according to The Associated Press. Reserve members are facing a Dec. 28 deadline.

In guidance released in October, the Marines said the refusal to get vaccinated by the deadline would result in a discharge, The Hill reported.

A spokesperson for the Marines said Thursday that 95% of its active-duty force of 182,500 members had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, the lowest percentage among the military services, ABC News reported. Stenger said while 94% are fully vaccinated, 84% of reservists are at least partially vaccinated and 81% are fully vaccinated.

>> Coronavirus: Air Force discharges 27 for refusing to get COVID vaccine

The Marines have approved 1,007 medical and administrative exemptions and are still processing 2,863 of the 3,144 requests made for a religious exemption, told Marine Corps Times in an email.

According to the latest numbers provided by the Air Force and the Navy, 7,365 airmen and 5,472 sailors are unvaccinated. Those figures include personnel who have either refused the vaccine outright or are awaiting the processing of requests for administrative, medical, or religious exemptions.

Marines discharged solely for refusing the vaccine will receive either an honorable or general discharge, according to provisions in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, Marine Corps Times reported. The measure passed Congress on Wednesday and is awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature.

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