Despite the Department of Defense (DOD) formally ending its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all branches of the military, the United States Military Academy at West Point has reinstated restrictions on unvaccinated cadets, including a travel ban.
As Just The News reports, the controversial military vaccine was rescinded on December 23rd after the passage of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included a measure that ordered the end of the mandate; despite the opposition of Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the bill was passed and Biden ultimately signed it into law.
However, in an apparent act of retaliation for the repealing of the mandate, West Point has reimposed restrictions that were originally in place during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. One such restriction is a travel ban, prohibiting unvaccinated cadets from traveling to extracurricular events such as sports. The travel ban was repealed during the last semester, while the vaccine mandate was still in place, but has since been reinstated.
Military attorney R. Davis Younts said that the decision to put “restrictions back in place…feels like coercion” to once again try to force cadets to take the vaccine, despite it having been proved to yield harmful side effects, particularly for young men.
“Is there suddenly a crazy spike in COVID deaths in West Point, New York,” Younts asked rhetorically, who then suggested that the move was taken because there isn’t “anything left to coerce [the cadets] into compliance.”
Following the passage of the NDAA, congressional Republicans have been crafting legislation that would force the DOD to offer reinstatement for any and all military personnel who were discharged due to refusing to take the vaccine. One such bill was introduced on Monday by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), with 18 other Republicans in the Senate and Congressman Dan Bishop (R-N.C.). Cruz’s bill would also forbid the DOD from implementing another vaccine mandate without approval from Congress.
Addressing a possible reinstatement of unvaccinated personnel, National Guard Bureau Chief General Dan Hokanson said that “it’ll be really dependent on the policy decisions that are made.”
“And as I mentioned,” Hokanson continued, “we’re in the working group, we’re trying to get … those policies established as soon as possible, but unfortunately, we just don’t have a date right at this time.”
The DOD estimates that between 8,000 and 9,000 military personnel were discharge over refusal to take the vaccine. However, Younts pointed out that these numbers do not take into account the thousands more who “voluntarily” quit, retired, or were unable to re-enlist.