Halfway across the world, we watch as protestors take to the streets in China, rebelling against the draconian mandates and lockdowns that are sweeping their country once again. We cheer and hope they will prevail, but we also know our so-called leaders did a lot of damage here with their abuse of power.

In very few places was the contrast over freedom as clear as it was in the military, where the very men and women we count on to protect our freedom were stripped of theirs. 

Without question, the Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccine mandate has ruined the livelihoods of men and women who have honorably served our country.

As of April 2022, approximately 3,400 troops have been discharged from the military for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. While the Department of Defense certainly must make decisions that will bolster military readiness, the effects of the mandate are antithetical to readiness of our force, and the policy must be revoked.

The Senate will soon be asked to take up and consider the National Defense Authorization Act. This happens every year, and there are many important items in this bill.

However, before we move forward with the bill, we must take a stand for the brave men and women of our military. We must stand for their freedom. 

Our demand on their behalf is simple.

We will not vote to move forward with the NDAA bill until the Senate votes on our amendment to not only prohibit discharges from the Armed Forces based solely on a service member’s COVID-19 vaccination status, but also reinstate those who may have already been separated, with back pay.

It is outrageous that the U.S. military is firing young service members who choose not to get vaccinated, and that’s why we, along with a continually growing number of our fellow Senators, are leading the charge to end the Biden administration’s unscientific and harmful mandate.

The United States simply cannot afford to discharge our brave men and women in uniform and lose the investments we have made into each and every one of them due to an inept bureaucratic policy.

While training costs vary between each service, the Army, for example, estimates it spends $15,000 in recruiting costs to bring someone into the service and another $50,000 to $75,000 to prepare them to join their first unit, depending on their job.

The military also faces challenges with recruitment. Military recruitment is reportedly down 23 percent from annual targets. Therefore, due to costs and recruiting challenges, losing thousands of troops due to their vaccination status is a readiness issue that the Department should take extraordinarily seriously.

It makes no sense to move forward on a military and defense bill without first considering this issue that adversely affects our service members and our national security.

These men and women chose to protect our God-given rights. We must protect theirs.

There is no justification. The pandemic has been declared over for months.  Schools, businesses and local governments have belatedly and finally opened.  Nothing makes sense – not even the science.

The CDC acknowledges the COVID vaccine does not stop transmission, so the argument that the mandate will stop incapacitating spread in the close quarters of military barracks is not applicable. Furthermore, repeated COVID vaccines have a risk of causing inflammation of the heart.

Several scientific studies. Including a very large one in Israel and another one by the CDC, have shown a heightened risk of myocarditis for children and teenagers after taking a second COVID vaccine.

Because of this scientific evidence, European countries began restricting the vaccine for certain age groups. Germany, France, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden limit their recommendations for vaccines for young people. Norway, South Africa, and the UK all chose to recommend only one dose of Pfizer. Due to the risk of cardiovascular side effects for boosters for kids.

Dr. Paul Offit, a former member of the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices and the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee, advised his own son not to get a booster because he was already well protected against severe disease.

And let’s not forget that the mandate ignores natural immunity. Eighty percent of young people have already contracted COVID. By compelling the young to inject a vaccine into their bodies, they are accepting a risk of myocarditis, with limited benefit in terms of decreased risk of severe infection.

Whether the argument is science, military readiness, or freedom, the answer is the same – end the mandates and reinstate those who lost their positions taking this stand.

You can read the op-ed HERE.