Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a memo last week calling for the mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations of American troops. Austin ordered United States military leaders to "impose ambitious timelines for implementation."
More than 800,000 service members have yet to get their COVID-19 vaccines, according to Pentagon data.
"This bill prohibits the use of federal funds to require a member of the Armed Forces to receive a COVID-19 vaccination," the bill states, which has 31 cosponsors. "The bill also prohibits adverse action (e.g., punishment) being taken against a member of the Armed Forces because the member refuses to receive a COVID-19 vaccination."
On Friday, Massie hosted a roundtable discussion with a dozen members of the U.S. military to hear their concerns about the imminent vaccine mandate. The military members remained anonymous to avoid any backlash or retribution for their opinions on the COVID-19 vaccine. Massie's office did vet each service member for authenticity for the conference call.
One soldier, a six-year veteran of the Air National Guard as a front-line health care worker, said, "The science is ignored in favor of a vax everyone at all costs position. Superiors are aware of the fact that soldiers with prior exposure to COVID have a better immunity response than could be achieved with a vaccine, yet it simply does not matter."
Another anonymous service member who has been part of the military's COVID-19 response team for the past six months claimed, "The pressure from commanders to get people vaxxed is intense." The individual is in the process of obtaining an exemption, but alleges there is daily harassment from commanders who urge him to abandon his exemption request, according to the New American.
A Christian, who joined the military out of a sheer love of country, said his religious accommodation request was denied by the Surgeon General of the Army "without any reason given." The Army veteran proclaimed, "I am going to fight this in Federal Court if I need to."
A major with 17 years of active service revealed that he contracted COVID-19 and recovered. The officer suffers from a heart condition, which is under control. Still a few years away from retirement, the major revealed, "Privately I've been told that I qualify for a medical exemption, but the pressure put on the medical staff is such that none of the doctors are willing to officially sign off."
"This is total nonsense; we have thousands of soldiers deployed in combat zones overseas and none of them have received the COVID vaccine," the incensed major declared. "They are still accomplishing the mission."
An enlisted Navy man alleged that an officer told him, "You are the reason your mom and dad is going to die." However, the reason why the Air Force E4 is vaccine hesitant is because a close family member recently died from a blood clot immediately after getting the vaccine.
"I wanted to serve my country and now I am looking at a result in which I am lumped in with felons and rapists, I won't even be able to own a firearm," the Navy man, who is still under contract, said.
Two of the service members say they have been threatened with a court-martial or a dishonorable discharge.