A U.S. Naval Commander is warning that the Pentagon’s orders to mandate the COVID-19 vaccination for all service members could be a threat to national security due to unknown effects of vaccine complications.1 Naval Officer J.H. Furman said that further study is needed before requiring the entire military force, which is comprised of an estimated 1.4 million service men and women be part of an “irreversible experimental group.”1 2
According to the Associated Press, Pentagon data shows that as of Aug. 18, 2021, there were 800,000 service members who had not yet gotten vaccinated. More than 1 million active duty, Guard and Reserve service members had been fully vaccinated and nearly 245,000 more had received at least one COVID-19 shot.3
CDR Furman is a naval officer, naval aviator, and foreign area officer with experience advising senior military, diplomatic, and international organization leadership. His memo, which is a little over two pages long, suggests that COVID-19 vaccine mandates are not driven by safety, but by hysteria. He points out that the average military member is young and in good health—both factors of which are not at risk for complications resulting from infection of SARS-CoV-2. CDR Furman also suggests that mRNA technology may have unanticipated long-term effects on the immune system. He writes:
The world is simultaneously learning about this new technology amongst the largest vaccine rollout in human history. The data on both the virus and the vaccines are new and not yet scientifically reliable.1
23 Servicemen Suffer Myocarditis Reaction After Getting mRNA Vaccine
CDR Furman brings to light a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which explored 23 healthy male military members who experienced moderate to severe myocarditis following mRNA vaccination from January 1 to Apr. 30, 2021.4 Additional testing on the men found no existing etiologies for myocarditis such as autoimmune disease, infection, or ischemic injury. The study states that the number of myocarditis reactions was higher than expected among male military members after receiving the second dose.4 Following additional adverse reactions to the mRNA vaccines throughout the country, the FDA added a warning of the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis to both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in June.5
Mandate Disregards Natural Immunity, is “Reckless at Best”
CDR Furman’s memo notes that there is no need to mandate vaccinating the previously infected military population who have acquired natural immunity. He cites the 99.74 percent military recovery rate and a study from the Cleveland Clinic which states that individuals who have had previous infection “are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination.”1
CDR Furman ends the memo calling for an immediate pause to weigh benefits and risks, and to reevaluate how the decision to mandate vaccination will “critically impact mission effectiveness.” He states:
If it is true that the military is, in fact, essential to national survival thereby justifying massive budgets and sweeping measures to protect the Force, then deciding to gamble the entirety of those vital forces on what little is certain, is reckless at best.1
Troops Who Refuse Vaccine Likely to Face Punishment
CDR Furman is not alone in his hesitancy about the vaccines. The Washington Post reported that troops and observers continue to face resistance from a segment of the armed forces following Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s announcement earlier this month.6 This hesitancy persists despite Pentagon officials making it clear that refusal may lead to job loss or other punishment.
Attorney Mark Zaid stated:
All avenues of punishment will be available to the different services to include imprisonment and the ending of their military careers. Unlike with the anthrax vaccine, we’re in the midst of a pandemic so I envision DoD will act swiftly and harshly with legal action against refusers.7
Zaid is referring to the anthrax vaccine which disabled several military service members after being mandated following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.8 Many current troops have cited the anthrax reactions as one of their reasons for their hesitancy to get the COVID vaccine.
Religious Exemptions to Go Through Rigorous Scrutiny
Both medical and religious exemptions will be available to members of the military. However, if filing for a religious exemption, troops must prove that receiving the vaccine would violate “sincere, closely held religious beliefs.” Retired Marine Lieutenant Butch Bracknell, who served as a legal advisor for the 1st Marine Division stated that a granted religious exemption would go through rigorous scrutiny to determine the legitimacy. He also stated that troops would likely need to demonstrate that they have religiously opposed getting other vaccines in the past.8
A medical or religious exemption would not result in punishment, but would adversely affect eligibility for future deployment, assignments, and international travel.8
Staff Sergeants File Lawsuit Against Dept. of Defense
Following the Pentagon’s announcement of the mandate, Staff Sergeant Daniel Robert of the U.S. Army and Staff Sergeant Holli Mulvihill of the U.S. Marine Corps filed a class action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The lawsuit, which is on behalf of all military members, cites the disregard of natural immunity and a violation of “the most fundamental of all human rights, the right of a person to bodily integrity.” The lawsuit was filed in the U.S District Court of Colorado on Aug. 17, 2021.9
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Click here to view References:
1 Revolver exclusive: Navy commander warns of national security thread from mandatory vaccination. Revolver Aug. 15, 2021.
2 Duffin E. Armed forces of the United States- statistics & facts. Statista Mar. 8, 2021.
3 Baldor LC. Pentagon: US troops must get their COVID-19 vaccines ASAP. Associated Press Aug. 25, 2021.
4 Montgomery J, Ryan M, Engler R. Myocarditis following immunization with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in members of the US military. JAMA Cardiology June 29, 2021.
5 Newburger E. FDA adds warning about rare heart inflammation to Pfizer, Moderna Covid vaccines. CNBC June 26, 2021.
6 Hauptman M. Vaccine resistance in the infantry remains strong, a dilemma for Pentagon as mandate looms. The Washington Post Aug. 21, 2021.
7 Schogol J. Here’s what will happen to US troops who refuse mandatory COVID-19 vaccines. Task & Purpose Aug. 12, 2021.
8 Hobley N. All members of the U.S. Armed Forces will be Required to be vaccinated for COVID. The Vaccine Reaction Aug. 16, 2021.
9 Dan Robert, SSGT, U.S. Army, Hollie Mulvihill, SSGT, USMC, and other similarly situated individuals. Civil Action No. 21-CV-2228. In the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.