In a recent interview with Morningstar Journal News, a U.S. Army Sergeant spoke up about how the military’s vaccine order is putting him in a predicament. The sergeant said if his medical exemption is not approved, he will be forced to either take the shot and put his life in jeopardy due to a history of adverse reactions to previous vaccines, or refuse the shot and be Other than Honorably discharged and lose all his retirement benefits. (The sergeant did not want his name revealed due to possible repercussions for speaking out.)
A January memorandum by the Secretary of the Army, Christine Wormuth, gave soldiers until July 1, 2022, to take the shot. “If you don’t have the vaccine currently, they’re already looking at you for kicking you out of the Army. And if you have a religious or medical exemption, then that’s gonna sustain you until July. But by July, it’s either â€¦ you have an approved medical or religious exemption, or by July you’re out.â€
The sergeant said his medical exemption papers that have worked for the last ten years are not good enough for this vaccine. “Normally with any other vaccine, the flu shots, any of that stuff, if you have a medical professional who’s given you an exemption, the military just puts it in the system and codes you and that’s it. It’s clean cut; it’s one document.â€
Ten years ago, prior to going overseas, the sergeant’s health deteriorated due to an autoimmune response from taking a barrage of vaccines. “Since then, I’ve been exempt with no issue, to any other vaccine.â€ But with the Covid-19 vaccine, the military says exemption from his civilian doctor is not enough. They demand an exemption written by the military. Even then the exemption is not guaranteed to be approved. As of June 2, 2022, the Army has only approved 22 permanent medical exemptions out of 731 requests and have denied 673.
The sergeant said he’s never seen anything pushed like this in the Army during his career. “We’ve had multiple different, you know, medical encounters â€¦ that have come up throughout my entire career, and I’ve never seen a reaction like this.â€ He said the only thing he can equate the reaction to is that politics have gotten involved.
While he acknowledged that some people have died because of complications from Covid-19, the sergeant said Covid-19 is not a dangerous threat to the military. “From what I’ve seen in the military, no service member has had it (Covid-19) to where it’s impacted duty; to where it has become what Secretary Wormuth has put out as a hazard for service members and readinessâ€¦. I have not seen anyone who has gotten Covid in the service in my realm have any serious complications whatsoever.â€
The sergeant said the worst complications he has seen personally, have been from the vaccine, not the virus. “The only serious complications that I have seen are from entry level personnel who did get the vaccine because they were mandated to get it, and had an adverse reaction to the vaccine. And I’ve seen three cases of that. And all three of those cases are people who are also filing exemptions and have turned in all the documentation that they need. But every step of the way it is ‘we need more, we need more, we need more’. When they’ve already turned in documentation that says from their provider that they had an adverse reaction to the first vaccine and that they should not go forward with the second vaccine. And even those personnel are in the same boat. If their exemption is not approved, it’s either get the second vaccine or get kicked out.â€
According to the sergeant, most service members have the same stance against the mandate but get pressured to comply with the order. “Everybody that I work with, for the most part, thinks the exact same way â€” that this is wrong. However, you’re potentially losing an entire career’s worth of work, retirement, healthcare, everything you’ve been working for, for your family, if you do not get the vaccine.â€
The sergeant also stated that for most of the service members, military is their life; they have no other training. Without retirement benefits to support their families, they will be forced to start from scratch. “When you step out with an Other than Honorable discharge where are you going to go work? I mean we could work construction, we could work â€¦ labor jobs, but you will not get another career unless you start over.â€
The sergeant is holding on to the hope that his exemption gets approved in time. If not, his hopes are in the U.S. Congress. “Congress has the ability to move forward with their house resolution (H.R. 3860) that they’ve been trying to push for the past six months, to ensure that they (the Military) will not discharge any soldier for refusal of the vaccine.â€
Despite his predicament, the sergeant remains optimistic. “I fully believe that this will be overturned at one point and the military is gonna have to end up either letting the service members back in, or reinstate all their benefits. And this is the exact same thing that happened with Anthrax during the Gulf War. The Anthrax vaccines went out, they kicked anyone out who didn’t take it, and then 20 years later â€¦ they’re having to reimburse all those soldiers their pensions that they lost for not taking the anthrax vaccine.â€
As of May 30, 2022, the Army has separated 818 Soldiers for refusing to receive the Covid-19 vaccine and Army commanders have issued 3,426 general officer written reprimands to Regular Army Soldiers for the same reason.