Nearly 40% of United States Marines who have been offered the COVID-19 vaccine have declined it, according to the Pentagon.
Of the 123,500 Marines that have had access to the vaccine, 75,500 Marines are either fully vaccinated or have only received one dose while about 48,000 have declined it, Communication Strategy and Operations Officer Capt. Andrew Woods told USA TODAY.
“We fully understand that widespread acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine provides us with the best means to defeat this pandemic. The key to addressing this pandemic is building vaccine confidence,” he said, confirming a statistic first reported by CNN.
Woods said the Navy and Marine Corp were working to ensure that soldiers have accurate information about the safety of the vaccine and want to encourage people to get it.
Woods said service members may have declined the offer for any one of a variety of reasons, including 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.