Navy Army Marines COVID
NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan (Sept. 8, 2021) Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class James Owen, from Tobyhanna, Pa., administers the Pfizer vaccine to a sailor on Sept. 8. COVID-19 vaccination is mandatory for active duty and ready reserve Department Of Defense service members who are not medically or administratively exempt. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Rafael Avelar)

The government reported this week that nearly 2 million service members are fully inoculated or have received at least one shot of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines.

“By any measure, the vaccination process in the military has been enormously successful,” according to the Department of Defense.

More than 6.5 million shots have been administered to almost 1.92 million service members, officials said.

The Navy’s deadline for full vaccination was Nov. 28. Last month, Navy officials reported that 95% of the active-duty force is fully vaccinated, with over 99% having received at least one shot.

In the Army’s figures, released Thursday, 468,459 active-component soldiers, 98% of the force, had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

In addition, Army officials said 96% of active-duty soldiers had been fully vaccinated. The service is still processing exemption requests.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III made vaccinations mandatory for service members. The Army deadline was Wednesday. Deadlines for reserve component service members are in June.

Service members who refuse the vaccine will be administratively discharged. The Air Force discharged 27 service members earlier this week for refusing the vaccine.

The Army will not begin discharging those who refuse until next month. The Washington Post reported two weeks ago that 19,000 sailors and Marines had refused the vaccine, and cited the Marine Corps as the service branch with the least number of vaccinated members.

Austin sees the vaccination process as a readiness issue, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said, calling the shots “the best way (for service members) to protect themselves and their units.”

“That’s the readiness concern with getting the vaccine vaccination rate as close to 100% as possible,” he added.