My son aspires to join a branch of the military in a few years. He currently has a religious exemption for immunizations and we had talked several times about what he planned to do about vaccines once he joins the Army.
I have spoken to many veterans who all assured me that once you joined the military you were at the mercy of Uncle Sam regarding vaccines. News stories that came following the initiation of the anthrax vaccine gave some credence to that theory, but I was relatively sure that there must be some waivers given, at least for medical reasons, if not for religious reasons.
Thankfully, I recently ran across an article on Dr. Mercola's site that answered the question with some real information. I was not surprised to find out that these vets had not been given the whole story. My son's trip to his recruiter confirmed the information as correct, although he did say that most people were not aware of the religious exemption option and that military recruiters were not giving the information out to new recruits.
Signing Up for a Religious Waiver in the Military
There is a one-time window to express and receive a waiver of vaccines. The military applicant must express his or her objections when signing up or enlisting. The applicant must state their objection as either medical or religious conscience. Once stated, they will be given the appropriate paperwork to document the waiver. If the applicant does not express the objection at this time, they have given the military the right to vaccinate with whatever they desire.
If your waiver is refused at the time of enlistment, you should refuse to sign and take the matter up with the recruiter's supervisor. Do not let the recruiter convince you that there are no waivers for military personnel.
For Current Service Members
Last year, Congress upheld the refusal of some military personnel regarding the anthrax vaccine. This refusal did not apply to any other vaccine. Some military personnel were court-matialed, demoted in rank, fined, and otherwise disciplined for their refusal.
As more and more people are looking into the vaccine issue, I am sure there will be other challenges to the military vaccine policies. I salute those courageous men and women who stood up for their rights and were willing to suffer the consequences. I also salute those in Congress and elsewhere who helped publicize the problem and win a victory to those who refused.
In Oct. 204, Judge Sullivan issued an injunction against the use of the anthrax vaccine on our military personnel. His injunction was issued because there was no true informed consent and because the claim that the vaccine was safe and effective for use as claimed had not been proved. Thankfully, his courage to take a stand may make a difference for those who are still under charges for refusing to obey an order and may see rank and pay returned.
Policies will never change if no one challenges them. Challenges to authority never come without a price. Perhaps those willing to lead the challenge may eventually do away with mandatory vaccines to those service men and women who don't have waivers.