Thousands of U.S. troops ignore COVID-19 vaccine orders

Nickaylah Sampson seems to be well on his way to fulfilling his dream of becoming a US Army officer.


As an outstanding student, his family has a long tradition of military service, and this San Antonio native has obtained the coveted position at West Point Military Academy.

She completed her freshman year in the spring of 2021, just when the military launched a vaccination campaign against COVID-19. Although she has no problems with the other nine vaccines required by the US military when enlisting, she said she is worried that the COVID-19 vaccine is too new to fully understand its risks.


She said that her parents were both veterans and told her she had only one choice: “Get out as soon as possible.”

A man in a hat sitting cross-legged on the floor holding an open folder

19-year-old Nickaylah Sampson resigned as a cadet at West Point in October 2021 due to the military’s vaccine mission.

(Nikela Sampson)

So in October, the 19-year-old Sampson withdrew from West Point Military Academy.


The latest data from the military shows that despite the Ministry of Defense issued an order in August and the deadline has passed, there are still about 30,000 active military personnel who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Their contempt for military orders is a stark example of how politicized this epidemic has become in the United States.

“Racism, suicide, conspiracy theory addiction-you can name it. If you can find it among civilians, you can also find it in the military,” Duke University political scientist specializing in military-civilian relations Peter Feaver said. “The difference is that the military has a wider range of tools, including more day-to-day control over the lives of its members… to monitor and manage these issues.”


This helps explain why the vast majority of service personnel–more than 97% of active duty forces–received At least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Others are on the side of the anti-vaccine movement, which is based on conspiracy theories about pandemics and vaccines and liberal principles that oppose any form of government authorization.

The two soldiers at the dining table faced a long line of people in camouflage uniforms

The Marine Corps lined up to receive the Moderna vaccine at the Hansen Camp in Okinawa, Japan, on April 28, 2021.

(Carl Court/Getty Images)

It is not just ordinary employees or new employees who refuse to get vaccinated. Holders also include military officers and service personnel who are about to retire and face the risk of losing their pensions.


General Thomas Mancino, the commander of the brig Oklahoma National Guard, told his troops last month that he refused authorization from the Department of Defense and instead obeyed the order of the state’s Republican Governor Kevin Stitt.

Last week, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit challenged by Stitt and the state attorney general.

In another case, a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction on Monday to prevent the Navy from enforcing the authorization of 26 SEALs and 9 special operations personnel.

The service staff argued in court that this task violated their religious freedom because the “aborted fetal cell line” was used in the development of the vaccine, making it “an insult to the creator.”

A masked man rolled up the sleeves of his T-shirt, and a masked soldier in uniform stuck a needle in his arm

On September 9, 2021, a soldier was vaccinated against COVID-19 in Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

(Jon Cherry/The Washington Post)

The fetal cell line grown in the laboratory-obtained from several miscarriages decades ago-was used to produce Johnson & Johnson vaccines and helped develop Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Although none of the vaccines contain such cellsThe same fetal cell line was also used to develop ibuprofen and aspirin.

The lawsuit was supported by 47 Republican congressmen who submitted an amicus curiae briefing to defend the plaintiff’s “religious freedom.”

This is not the first time vaccination has become a problem in the military. In 1998, when the Pentagon forced the use of the anthrax vaccine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in the 1970s, some military personnel publicly worried about the possible side effects and resisted it. A few quit.

But in most cases, medical instructions have not been severely challenged.

Lori Hogue worked as a combat medic in the army in the 1980s, and she said she remembered that soldiers were suddenly ordered to be vaccinated against flu.

“We all know what we must do,” she said. “When you raise your right hand, you agree to all of this. You don’t have many rights in the army. They will tell you what to do.”

Hogg said that she and her husband were a Vietnam War veteran, and they concluded that from the top, the army has become more politicized.

“How many senior people in the Pentagon are opposed to vaccines or hold such political views?” she said. “It comes from the political climate outside the military, and it’s infiltrating.”

In March, when Americans across the country were lining up for vaccinations, the Department of Defense promised to provide vaccines to all military personnel by mid-July. At that time, the FDA had approved these injections under an emergency use authorization, but the military did not require them.

But some service personnel said that officials are already pressing them to get vaccinated. Sampson said that she and 34 other unvaccinated trainees were isolated from the rest of the class during training, were prohibited from participating in sports, and received briefings designed to persuade them that the vaccine is safe.

In June, her father Mathias Sampson (Mathias Sampson) Appear in Fox’s “Sean Hannity Show” Defend the status of the daughter.

“My daughter has reasonable concerns about this vaccination-concerns related to fertility and long-term effects,” the retired lieutenant colonel told the conservative host. “Neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nor the West Point Military Academy have answers to these concerns.”

The order of the Ministry of Defense is in FDA is fully approved For Pfizer vaccine. Service personnel from bases across the country began to line up in clinics and gymnasiums for shots.

But not long ago Anonymous military-themed social media accounts Misinformation about vaccines began to appear and spread.

one Twitter user He claims to be the Chief Warrant Officer on active duty and has more than 2,000 followers-many of whom are soldiers or veterans-writing that the COVID shot was fired.”Killed a lot of children“And the pharmacy A military base in Washington Without telling people, replace the flu vaccine with a COVID vaccine.

In addition to the SEAL litigation, the other 16 service personnel also sued the Department of Defense, the FDA, and the heads of each military department, arguing that these missions were illegal.

Among the plaintiffs is Army Reserve Sergeant Brian Stermer (Brian Stermer), who said he does not believe the government’s claims that vaccines are safe and effective.

He said: “This is a new technology with evil hidden behind it.” “And the entire shot of each arm—I don’t believe them.”

Stemmer who lives in Ft. Leonard Wood Military Base in Missouri said he had considered applying for a medical exemption, but realized that as a healthy 33-year-old he had little chance.

Like many service workers who refused to be vaccinated, he was seeking religious accommodation, believing that the mission violated the Bible.

His chances of being awarded one are almost zero. A total of more than 12,000 such requests have been received by various branches of the military, and after thousands of reviews, no one has been approved yet.

Permanent medical exemptions are also rare—the Army has only approved four. Some service personnel are temporarily exempted for medical or logistical reasons.

As for what will happen to unvaccinated soldiers, the military is still studying.

The National Defense Authorization Act, signed by President Biden on December 27, stipulates that “Any act of dismissing military personnel solely on the grounds that they have failed to comply with the legal order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine shall be an honorable discharge or in Dismissal under glorious conditions.”

The Marine Corps stated last month that it had expelled 169 soldiers who had ignored the vaccination regulations. All Marine Corps soldiers who had not been vaccinated without pending or approved exemptions or appeals “will be subject to administrative separation.”

The Marine Corps spokesman, Captain Andrew Wood, said that the separation issue is being dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Terry Kelly said that 2,767 soldiers received “general written admonitions” — depriving them of opportunities for promotion or transfer within the army — two battalion commanders and four other officers were dismissed from their positions. But he was still drafted into the army.

He said: “We need our soldiers to be prepared for battle and victory. If this virus spreads among our troops, it will obviously affect our combat readiness.”

Kelly said the military cannot discuss individual cases.

Sampson said that she was honorably discharged. She was not the only cadet who gave up her military career because of vaccine regulations.

A woman in a gray uniform standing in front of the American flag and smiling

19-year-old student Hannah MacDonald resigned from West Point Military Academy in October 2021 due to a military vaccine mission.

(Hannah MacDonald)

Her friend Hannah MacDonald, who left West Point at about the same time, provided the New York Times with a photo of her honorable retirement certificate. After the college began to isolate the unvaccinated people and assign them to the same isolation chamber, the relationship between the two became closer.

“I really want to be a soldier,” said 19-year-old MacDonald, who grew up in Boston. “I want to be able to deploy. I want to be able to fight, and I feel that if I take this vaccine, I will not be able to commission or deploy. I think it is not safe for my health.”

In early November, the two women and a former classmate who also dropped out appeared on Hannity’s show to explain their decision.

Sampson said on the show: “I do feel that being an officer is my mission, mainly because my father himself is an officer.” “I feel obligated to follow in his footsteps. But when I got there, The result was not as I thought or planned.”

MacDonald said she is planning to file a lawsuit against West Point Military Academy.

A few days after they starred in Hannity, the two women both received emails from Hillsdale College at the Christian College of Arts and Sciences in Southern Michigan to admit them.

McDonald’s Said that she decided to take a break from school for a while and think with her parents what to do next-while the university acceptance letter is still valid.

Sampson said she plans to enroll in Hillsdale in the spring, majoring in mathematics.