Anthrax to COVID - Military Repeats History With COVID Shot Mandates

Nov 10, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Defense (DOD) is now repeating history by unlawfully mandating an experimental COVID shot for military service members just as it did years ago with the anthrax vaccine. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) originally licensed the anthrax vaccine in 1970 for agricultural workers exposed to cutaneous (skin-acquired) anthrax. Anthrax, an acute infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis, occurs most commonly in warm-blooded animals in agricultural regions of countries with less standardized and less effective public health programs. Human anthrax occurs only rarely in the United States from natural causes. 

However, during March 1, 1998 to January 14, 2007, approximately six million doses of the anthrax vaccine were administered. There were 4753 reports of adverse events after anthrax vaccination reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) from 1990-2007. 

The DOD launched the Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program in 1998 to vaccinate all military troops against anthrax. More than one million military service members, mostly those serving in the Middle East, have received anthrax shots since 1998. During the Gulf War, 150,000 troops received the vaccine “as a prophylactic against inhalation anthrax.” 

In 2002, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report to Congress on the mandatory program which indicated that 85 percent of troops who received an anthrax shot had an adverse reaction, a rate far higher than the 30 percent claimed by the manufacturer in 2000 when the survey was conducted. Yet 77 percent of the GAO survey respondents reported that they would have declined the vaccine “if they had had a choice.” Many did not report their reactions to the military chain of command, due to concerns about “loss of flight status, a possibly adverse effect on military or civilian career, and a fear of ridicule.” 

The GAO report also revealed the negative impact of the anthrax vaccine program on retention of experienced pilots and aircrew. To avoid the anthrax shots, more than one in six survey respondents reported transferring to other units, changing their status to inactive or leaving the military altogether. Of those who left or transferred, one in four cited the anthrax vaccine as the primary reason for their decision.

“According to our survey, between September 1998 and September 2000, when AVIP was mandatory, about 16 percent of the guard and reserve pilots and aircrew members had transferred to another unit (primarily to non-flying positions), moved to inactive status, or left the military altogether. In addition, 18 percent of those still participating in units indicated their intention to transfer, move, or leave in the near future. About one-fifth of those who had already left did so knowingly before qualifying for military retirement.” 

Service members have been contending with anthrax-vaccine-induced illness ever since its military use began. For example, in 2002, two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies revealed Gulf War illnesses have “examined a possible association with vaccinations, including anthrax vaccination.” 

In 2004, the DOD suspended its anthrax vaccination program in response to a federal court ruling in Doe v. Rumsfeld. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the FDA failed to follow proper procedures in approving use of the anthrax vaccine and that the “involuntary anthrax vaccination program” by the DOD is “illegal.” Judge Sullivan stated that in the absence of a presidential waiver, the DOD cannot legally mandate vaccines if they are not FDA-approved. 

Judge Sullivan stated the FDA failed to follow its own rules in approving use of the vaccine for inhalational anthrax. Furthermore, the Court ruled that the FDA’s approval of the anthrax vaccine for use on military personnel was invalid since the FDA failed to comply with its own safety procedures. The Court found the FDA was in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act: “This Court has an obligation to ensure that FDA follow the law in order to carry out its vital role in protecting the public’s health and safety.” The Court ruling is a permanent injunction that will remain in effect “unless and until the FDA” obeys the law. Until that time, DOD’s “involuntary anthrax vaccination program is rendered illegal.” 

Justice Sullivan rebuked the government, stating: “Congress has prohibited the administration of investigational drugs to service members without their consent. This Court will not permit the government to circumvent this requirement. The men and women of our armed forces deserve the assurance that the vaccines our government compels them to take into their bodies have been tested by the greatest scrutiny of all – public scrutiny. This is the process the FDA in its expert judgment has outlined, and this is the course this Court shall compel FDA to follow.” 

In 2021, the DOD repeated the same unlawful actions with the mandatory COVID shot that is under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). As result, on October 21, 2021, Liberty Counsel began litigation against the DOD with a class action lawsuit along with a motion for a temporary restraining order and injunction on behalf of the military service members. 

As a result of Liberty Counsel’s case, Navy SEAL 1 v. Biden, Florida federal judge Steven Merryday ordered each branch of the military to file a detailed report regarding religious exemptions from the COVID-19 shot every 14 days beginning Friday, January 7, 2022. The filings received by the court show that out of 21,342 requests received, zero exemptions have been granted, and many have been denied at the final appeal stage. The reports confirm Liberty Counsel’s argument that the religious exemptions are a ruse with the inevitable result that everyone is being denied.

The COVID shots do not qualify for a presidential waiver under federal law, and no such waiver has been attempted because COVID does not fit the narrow definition for such a waiver. 

Liberty Counsel has obtained permanent injunctions on behalf of several service members as well as class action relief and a class wide preliminary injunction on behalf of those who are in active or reserve service in the United States Marine Corps. The trial is set for January 23 in Tampa. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said: “The Department of Defense continues to abuse our military service members with these unlawful shot mandates. Service members are continually threatened with discharge, loss of pay and benefits, and repayment of educational and training costs. They also suffer physical adverse effects as a result. Liberty Counsel looks forward to returning to court to permanently stop this unlawful treatment of our military heroes.” 

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