The Washington Post reported last week that nearly 1 in 5 Americans have now been vaccinated against the coronavirus. But there still remains a significant portion of the population hesitant to get the shot.
Citing a Pentagon official, USA Today reported Saturday that roughly 40% of U.S. Marines have declined to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
According to Marines spokesperson and Communication Strategy and Operations Officer Capt. Andrew Woods, 48,000 of the 123,500 members of the U.S. Marine Corps who were offered the vaccine said no to it. Another 75,500 have received at least one dose.
“The key” to defeating COVID-19
According to Woods, the Marines hope to build “vaccine confidence” among their ranks, a practice he called “the key to addressing this pandemic.”
“We fully understand that widespread acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine provides us with the best means to defeat this pandemic,” Woods told USA Today.
According to conservative author and pundit Kurt Schlichter, a U.S. Army veteran, distrust of military leadership is likely among the factors that explain why so many Marines — and potentially members of other military branches — have declined the vaccinations when offered.
Marines don’t trust their leadership and they shouldn’t. Marine senior leaders have failed them at every turn in recent years. Between wokeness and gross incompetence that kills Marines, I don’t blame them a bit for not trusting their command.@MatthewBetley https://t.co/w1LbL2mhAF
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) April 10, 2021
Other reasons shared by Woods in his talk with USA Today included Marines “wanting to allow others to get the vaccine before them; having already received the vaccine through other channels; or waiting until the military makes receiving the vaccine mandatory, which it has yet to do.”
The Pentagon’s predictions
For now, according to the Navy Times, the coronavirus vaccine isn’t mandated — unlike many other inoculations — in part because it hasn’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Instead, the shot is being offered under an emergency use authorization amid the pandemic.
But the rules may change if a group of some seven Democratic lawmakers gets what it wants. In a recent letter to President Joe Biden, the Dems requested that in his capacity as commander-in-chief, Biden issue a “waiver of informed consent” to force COVID-19 vaccines on all service members who are eligible. Of course, such a move would likely only compound the issue raised by Schlichter in his Saturday tweet.
Nonetheless, the Defense Department reported late last month that top Pentagon officials had predicted all American troops would be eligible to receive a vaccine by May 1, and that they’d all be fully vaccinated by the middle of July.
Perhaps those leaders are counting on Biden making the jabs mandatory, or they’re hoping peer pressure changes some minds. But as things stand, it looks like the Pentagon may fall far short of its vaccination goal.