At A Glance:
- American Armed Forces are preparing for mandatory COVID vaccines as soon as September 1.
- The mandates will go into affect once the FDA grants full approval.
- More than 50 percent of each branch of the military is already vaccinated.
- Concerns over myocarditis and blood clots continue to surface.
Recently, branches of the American Armed Forces announced that they would mandate COVID vaccines once they received full FDA approval. Currently, the vaccines remain voluntary with the EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) status.
A recent EXORD stated:
“Commanders will continue COVID-19 vaccination operations and prepare for a directive to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for service members [on or around] 01 September 2021, pending full FDA licensure,” the order said. “Commands will be prepared to provide a backbrief on servicemember vaccination status and way ahead for completion once the vaccine is mandated.”¹
EXORDS are utilized when the President directs the Defense Secretary to execute a military operation. The directive came from an execute order sent to the force by Department of the Army Headquarters.¹
The Army isn’t the only branch of the military preparing. The vaccine remains voluntary for now because of its EUA status. It is anticipated that the COVID vaccines will have full approval from the FDA and will be mandatory, just like the annual flu shot.²
Veterans Affairs is also preparing for the possibility of mandatory vaccines. Employees may be required to get the vaccine to retain their jobs. Recently, leadership within the department “announced plans to give all employees four hours of uncharged leave to get vaccines, and up to two days of uncharged sick leave for ‘adverse reactions’ to the medication.’” Leadership “hopes those initiatives will boost staff vaccine numbers without resorting to harsher measures.”³
“I believe I am permitted to compel people to take the vaccine, but we’re taking a look at all of our options as we watch [the nationwide spread of] the Delta variant,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said.³
There have been 20,300 cases of COVID reported among VA employees with 145 related deaths.³
COVID and Vaccines in the Military
More than 300,000 DoD beneficiaries, civilian workers, and contractors have been infected with COVID-19. Of those, there have been 357 deaths.⁴
Currently the COVID vaccination rates among the various military branches range from 58 percent to 77 percent.⁴
There has been some concern with safety, especially among young men, whom the military is primarily composed of. Last week, JAMA reported that 23 servicemen with an average age of 25 had been diagnosed with myocarditis. The FDA applied a warning for myocarditis to the vaccines in late June. Recently deaths due to blood clots have also been reported in the mRNA vaccines. Blood clots had previously been predominantly associated with the adenovirus vaccines like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Service men and women are already required to receive 17 different vaccinations, with more possible depending on deployments.⁵
Hold the Phone — Doc’s Thoughts:
There’s a lot to unpack here. First, we need to see that these vaccines would be mandated for the military under full approval. We know that on May 7, Pfizer, and on June 1, Moderna, applied for full approval from the FDA. Typically that process takes about 6 months to review data.⁴ We also know the hope is that more people who are hesitant might feel more comfortable if the vaccine was approved, thus increasing vaccine rates. However, there is still a portion of the population that remains hesitant and most likely won’t get the vaccine, even with approval.⁶ If the vaccines receive full approval, more organizations have the potential to mandate them.
Last month the FDA was approached by 27 concerned researchers, scientists, doctors, medical advocates, and professors asking for there to be a slow down toward full approval. With the EUA in place, there is access to the vaccine for those who want it and time to get the data needed to determine the long-term effects.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) took to Twitter this past Saturday:
I’ve been contacted by members of our voluntary military who say they will quit if the COVID vaccine is mandated.
I introduced HR 3860 to prohibit any mandatory requirement that a member of the Armed Forces receive a vaccination against COVID-19.
It now has 24 sponsors.⁷
Our service men and women protect our personal and national freedoms. We need to help them by protecting medical freedoms. Contact your US Representatives and Senators in reference to HR 3860. We need to help them have the same rights to informed consent that The Wellness Way will continue to fight for. We also need to let them know that it is too soon for full approval. Enough people have access, should they choose to accept the vaccine. In the meantime, more information is needed to truly make an informed, consensual decision.