Members of Congress Demand End to Military Shot Mandate

Sep 15, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Forty-seven members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin demanding that the Department of Defense immediately revoke the COVID-19 shot mandate and reinstate those service members who have already been discharged. 

Since August 24, 2021, the Department of Defense has unlawfully administered Emergency Use Authorized products as if they were fully licensed FDA approved products and military members have not been allowed to exercise their legal right to refuse them. As a result, Republican lawmakers, led by Reps. Mike Johnson (LA), Chip Roy (TX), and Thomas Massie (KY), presented evidence to Austin regarding the detrimental effect the shot mandate has on military readiness and national security. 

In fact, the legislators point to the mandate as the reason that the U.S. Army will miss its recruiting goal this September 30 by thousands. 

They wrote, “As a result of your mandate, eight percent of the Army’s approximately 1 million soldiers face expulsion, Army recruiters cannot meet their FY22 target, and the Army has cut its projected FY23 end strength by 12,000 soldiers. As a major land war rages in Europe our own military faces a self-imposed readiness crisis.” 

“If 75,000 soldiers are discharged, it begs the question whether the Army will be able to replace them. As indicated in a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing in July, the Army will need to make additional cuts in its end-strength, particularly in the Reserve Components, and it will have significant gaps in its operational capabilities.”

“At the very end of the fiscal year, the Army has only met 52% of its FY22 recruiting goal. How will it recruit another 75,000 troops beyond its annual target to account for vaccine-related discharges? Earlier this summer, the service began accepting enlistees without high school degrees or GEDs, offering $35,000 to any enlistee willing to go to basic training within 45 days, removing tattoo policies, and allowing soldiers to pick their first duty station. We are not at war, but the Army is reducing basic standards and offering enlistment incentives greater than or equal to those during the height of the War on Terror–with poorer results.” 

The legislators continued, “We are not the only ones frustrated. Thousands of these servicemembers have been left in limbo while they wait for the adjudication of religious and medical exemptions. Some have waited for nearly a year to learn if they will be forcibly discharged for their sincerely held religious beliefs or medical concerns. Most, if not all, of the small number of approved exemptions to date have gone to servicemembers in the process of leaving the Army.” 

“Furthermore, according to current Army policy, even those few soldiers who receive permanent exemptions will be treated as second class soldiers for the rest of their careers— each of them requires approval from the Undersecretary of the Army to travel, change assignments, or even attend training courses away from their home station.” 

They also presented Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data that showed men between 18 to 29 years of age had a death rate from COVID of 78 per one million cases. This statistic includes those with existing comorbidities such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, and hypertension, which is rare among military service members. 

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over forty percent of men aged 18-24 years old have refused vaccination for Covid-19. In the Southern United States, an area responsible for half of the nation’s enlistments, that number is over fifty percent. Off the bat, your vaccine mandate disqualifies more than forty percent of the Army’s target demographic from service nationwide, and over half of the individuals in the most fertile recruiting grounds.” 

“In the past, you have insisted the Covid-19 vaccine mandate is an imperative for readiness, but increasing amounts of data raise legitimate questions about your assertion. Servicemembers under 40 years of age without comorbidities have nearly no chance of death from the virus, and study after study has shown that Covid vaccinations have negligible or even negative efficacy against the Omicron strains. We also know that natural immunity provides better protection against infection and death than existing Covid vaccines, yet the Department still refuses to recognize it in lieu of vaccination,” the members of Congress wrote. 

The legislators challenged Austin with requests for additional information and concluded with this statement: “The data is now clear. The Department of Defense’s Covid vaccine mandate is deleterious to readiness and the military’s ability to fight and win wars. The vaccine provides negligible benefit to the young, fit members of our Armed Forces, and the mandate’s imposition is clearly affecting the Department’s ability to sustain combat formations and recruit future talent. We urge you to immediately revoke your Covid-19 vaccine mandate for all servicemembers, civilian personnel, and contractors and re-instate those who have already been discharged.” 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “We commend these 47 members of Congress for calling out Lloyd Austin regarding the unlawful actions by the Department of Defense against our service members and ultimately against the security of America. It is indisputable that for one year the military has forced the shots when they knew they were under the Emergency Use Authorization law and not FDA approved. Our military service members have been threatened and punished in violation of federal law. Every member of Congress should demand this COVID shot mandate end immediately.” 

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