Defense Department Pulls a Bait and Switch on Vaccines

On August 24, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued a memo to senior Pentagon leadership announcing that he was implementing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for all military service members. The day before, the FDA had issued full authorization to Pfizer for their Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine product (the nomenclature of which is meant to be a mashup of the words “COVID”, “mRNA”, and “community”) . At first glance it would seem that the mandatory vaccination policy, while scientifically unsound and strategically foolish, was at least a policy being implemented according to both the letter of the directive and in accordance with the law. But a further examination of the facts and the manner in which this order is being implemented makes clear that the military’s implementation of this order is illegal and highly unethical.

In the memo, Secretary Austin issued a directive and a promise, that “Mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 will only use COVID-19 vaccines that receive full licensure from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in accordance with FDA-approved labeling and guidance.” The problem with this is that the Comirnaty vaccine product that was approved by the FDA is not available anywhere in the Military Health System. It is not even in production, according to the military’s TRICARE healthcare providers. If a soldier goes to a military hospital or a private provider to receive an approved Pfizer COVID vaccine, he will be administered the unapproved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which is a vaccine that is not approved but has been administered under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). We are told that this is but a brand name difference, that the formulation is the same, and they can be used interchangeably. But as the FDA was approving the Comirnaty product, they were renewing the authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech product. If it’s just a matter of brand name, why issue an approval for one brand name and an EUA renewal for the other? This is because they are not actually the same. 

According to the formulation comparison sheet, the Comirnaty vaccine product has a very different formulation than the Pfizer BioNTech product—on a per 30 μg dose basis for instance, it contains 25 percent more SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein mRNA, 34 percent more polyethylene glycol, 1070 percent more potassium chloride, as well as an ingredient listed only as “Redacted Ingredient.” That last item is alarming. Informed consent is required by both federal and international law under the Nuremberg Code. It is impossible to give informed consent to receive a medical ingredient that is shrouded in secrecy behind a redacted label. 

There is a difference between Pfizer’s BioNTech and Comirnaty products that may even be more profound: the legal one. According to the FDA’s own vaccine fact sheet for the two Pfizer vaccines, “The products are legally distinct . . .”. That legal distinction may mean that any service member who is coerced into taking the vaccine and suffers adverse effects—which is already happening, with case rates of vaccine-induced myocarditis soaring among service members—will have no legal recourse because the vaccine they took was only given Emergency Use Authorization, not full approval, which means that there is no legal liability whatsoever for Pfizer if and when vaccine injury occurs. Not only is the manufacturer not liable for damages incurred, neither are governments or employers. And under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP), their families would also be barred from legal recourse as well. 

These facts were brought to my attention by a group of fighter pilots who are standing up to a corrupt military leadership who seek to impose a dangerous and unnecessary experimental gene therapy on them, taking no responsibility for their welfare or health care if and when this experimental therapy causes serious injury or death. They provided me with internal emails confirming that the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine product is not available to anyone in the United States Military. From the director of a Military Treatment Facility: 

Per the memo attached, On September 13, 2021, the National Library of Medicine within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), reported, ‘[a]t present, Pfizer does not plan to produce any product with these new [Comirnaty National Drug Codes] and labels over the next few months while EUA authorized product is still available and being made available for U.S. distribution.’ Therefore, Pfizer has not made any Comirnaty. There is no expected date when we will receive Comirnaty.

Given Secretary Austin’s order that “Mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 will only use COVID-19 vaccines that receive full licensure from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in accordance with FDA-approved labeling and guidance,” any disciplinary or terminative action taken against service members for refusing a COVID vaccine is blatantly illegal, as the mandate only applies to the FDA-approved Comirnaty vaccine (which is unavailable) and not to any of the unapproved COVID vaccines—the only ones that are available. The Department of Defense is telling service members that they are receiving an approved vaccine. That is false on its face and violates service members’ rights to be able to provide or decline to provide informed consent. 

The Secretary of Defense’s memo also clearly states that the vaccine mandate will be “implemented consistent with DoD Instruction 6205.02, ‘DoD Immunization Program,’ July 23, 2019. The Military Departments should use existing policies and procedures to manage mandatory vaccination of Service members to the extent practicable. Mandatory vaccination of Service members will be subject to any identified contraindications and any administrative or other exemptions established in Military Department policy.” 

All military services allow for religious accommodations to vaccines and other military requirements and restrictions according to the regulation of that particular service. Religious accommodations have been won for far less serious violations of religious freedom, as in the case of Capt. Simratpal Singh who won an accommodation in a federal lawsuit by claiming that helmet and gas mask testing violated his first amendment religious freedom rights because his Sikh faith required him to wear a turban and full beard. To date, thousands of requests for religious accommodations relating to the COVID vaccine mandate policy have been requested and to date neither I nor my military sources have been able to find a single service member who has had his or hers accepted. 

The branches are not treating these requests according to their regulations and the denials are all coming back quickly with verbatim templates showing no hint whatsoever of the case-by-case analysis that is required under statute. Furthermore, the services are actively threatening and retaliating against service members who are requesting religious accommodations, purely on the basis of them exercising their Constitutional and statutory rights. 

What the Department of Defense is doing is discriminatory, illegal, and reckless. But hundreds of thousands of troops have refused to bend the knee. Among active duty service members, those declining to comply with this illegal order are disproportionately concentrated among tip-of-the-spear combat units. If dismissed from service, the impact to our military’s operational capabilities would be catastrophic. 

Senate Republicans must draw the line here, shutting down all other legislative business until this travesty is halted. The judiciary should act in concert by giving injunctive relief, and the people need to raise their voices to pressure the Senate and judiciary to this end. As a nation, we need to lend these courageous men and women in uniform our full support to ensure their continued unmolested service, or else our military capabilities will be lost, and with it, America’s status as the world’s greatest power.


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