By Newsweek |
Two Service Members Sue Feds Over Military COVID Vaccine Requirements
An Army staff sergeant and Marine staff sergeant are suing various federal government agencies due to the recent actions regarding mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all military troops.
On Friday, Army Staff Sgt. Dan Robert, a drill sergeant at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Marine Staff Sgt. Hollie Mulvihill, an air traffic controller at Marine Corps Air Station in New River, North Carolina finalized their lawsuit which was filed on August 17.
On August 30, both Robert and Mulvihill asked U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Moore for a temporary restraining order regarding the vaccinations for military members who have already been affected by COVID-19 along with other legal measures surrounding the vaccine.
Moore denied Robert and Mulvihill's request on Wednesday, citing that the attorney's who represent both sergeants failed to show a legal basis for their claims. Moore also stated that the vaccine has received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and millions of Americans have received the vaccine without any harmful side effects.
Robert's and Mulvihill's filing comes as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that he plans to get permission from the federal government to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for all military troops, starting on September 15.
Austin also released a memorandum on August 24 that required the secretaries of each military department [Army, Navy and Air Force] to "immediately begin full vaccination of all members on active duty, reserve or Guard status," according to the memo.
The memo also acknowledges mandate exceptions.
"Mandatory vaccination of Service members will be subject to any identified contraindications and any administrative or other exemptions established in the Military Department policy," said Austin.
A trial date for Robert and Mulvihill's lawsuit hasn't been set, according to court records.
Read moreFlight Attendant Dedicates 13 Seats to Fallen Military Members Family of Afghan Victims in U.S. Drone Strike Dispute Car Carried Explosive U.S. Investigating Reports Afghan Evacuee Girls Forced to Marry Older Men
Dale Saran, an attorney representing one of the sergeants, spoke to the Military Times on Friday and implied that the Defense Department may not be abiding by their own rules.
"Army Regulation 40-562 presumptively exempts from any vaccination requirement for a service member that the military knows has had a documented previous infection," said Saran, referencing court documents.
Saran also referenced an Army Medical Command document that was obtained by Military Times on June 13. The document cites authorized medical exemptions which include, "evidence of immunity based on serologic tests, documented infection, or similar circumstances."
Saran argues that the "immunity" mentioned in the document can be granted if a service member has contracted COVID-19. Saran also stated that "if you get the virus and survive it, that's as good as it gets."
As of September 1, nearly 1.3 of the 1.9 million active duty service members have received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Pentagon data.
Newsweek has reached out to Saran for further comments.