Congressmen Increase Pressure on Biden’s DOD to End Controversial COVID Vaccine Mandate
Even as the Army reported a 25% shortage in recruitment numbers, Biden administration officials are refusing to relinquish policies that require troops to receive the COVID-19 shot, which lawmakers on Capitol Hill say is exacerbating the recruiting problem, decreasing operation readiness, and ignoring litigation challenges and legitimate exemption requests.
On September 28, the House Armed Services Committee sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin requesting clarification on the Defense Department’s (DOD) position on its COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy for all service members in light of President Biden’s September 19 pronouncement to CBS News’s Scott Pelley that “the pandemic is over.”
“Pandemic restrictions have been lifted across the country and state and federal courts have enjoined enforcement of employment-based vaccine mandates,” the letter noted, which was signed by 26 congressmen. “It is our understanding that members of the Armed Forces are now one of only a few groups in the Executive Branch still subject to termination for failure to take the vaccine.”
As Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) has observed, the number of servicemen and women who have declined to get the COVID-19 shot is substantial. Up to “100,000 of our soldiers and military service persons are subject to being discharged from the military right now,” he told Tony Perkins on “Washington Watch.”
The letter went on to point out that “there are roughly 48 pending court cases against President Biden, yourself, or other senior Department of Defense leaders. Virtually all of these are challenging the vaccine mandate imposed through your memoranda against servicemembers or contractors. A number of these have caused uncertainty regarding the long-term status of affected servicemembers.”
The court cases come amid reports of widespread punishments that the Army is exacting on unvaccinated servicemembers. On Monday, Fox News reported that the punishments include “prohibiting off-base travel, halting promotions, and enforcing involuntary terminations from the service, which active-duty service members claim is a strategy to pressure them to abandon their deeply held religious beliefs.” An Army spokesman admitted to Fox that unvaccinated soldiers are “subject to certain adverse administrative actions.”
So far, the Army has relieved 1,722 servicemembers from duty for declining the shot. The ongoing mandate is leaving many of the military’s best and brightest in a state of limbo, including a U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer who saved lives in Florida during Hurricane Ian and received a congratulatory phone call from President Biden.
Even when servicemembers request formal exemptions, the military is largely ignoring them. The Army has so far granted 0.9% of the religious exemption requests it has received (44 of 4,664), with zero exemptions being granted in the National Guard. As of June, the Air Force had granted 0.8% of religious exemption requests.
The questionable medical necessity as well as health risks of the Biden administration’s military COVID shot requirement are also being emphasized by health experts. The key demographic for the military — 18 to 25-year-old males in good health and physical condition — are one of the least likely demographics to be seriously affected by a COVID infection. At the same time, as Dr. David Gortler has written about, young males are the most susceptible to suffer from heart inflammation as a side effect of receiving the COVID shot.
Dr. Gortler further points out that most people have now acquired natural immunity to COVID-19, and that a study sponsored by Moderna and Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) found that the antibody response in those with natural immunity is stronger than in those with the Moderna vaccine.
Adding fresh controversy to the vaccine mandate is a study released on September 28 showing that the COVID vaccine can lead to complications in women’s menstrual cycles.
In summarizing the Biden administration’s current military COVID vaccine policy on the September 26 edition of “Washington Watch,” Rep. Johnson was blunt: “The whole system itself seems to be fraught with error, if not outright fraud.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.