WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – Six Republican senators sent a letter Tuesday to U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough seeking answers on how the federal government intends to care for American service members who have been harmed by COVID-19 vaccines they were forced to take as a condition of remaining in the military.
The letter, signed by Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Steve Daines of Montana, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Rick Scott of Florida, notes that “[m]any service members, despite hesitations against receiving the vaccine, chose to be vaccinated to continue their service to our country. While the DoD’s [Department of Defense’s] vaccine mandate has been repealed as part of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023,” a need remains for “benefits and healthcare for service members who are facing health impacts” because they were forced to vaccinate prior to repeal.
“If our government is asking service members to receive a vaccine, we must be cognizant that there will be unintended side effects that may cause lifelong impacts on their health,” the senators wrote. “We must keep our promise to support our service members, including ensuring those who come to the VA for help with COVID-19 vaccine injuries are justly compensated and receive the care that they deserve.”
The letter noted that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides “no clear information about how to support members who are injured as a result of the vaccine,” despite having evaluated and acknowledged concerns about previous vaccines required of soldiers.
Accordingly, the senators are requesting that McDonough detail the VA’s “process for considering COVID-19 vaccine injuries for disability claims,” ask if the department “consider[s] COVID-19 vaccine injuries as service-related if the service member received the vaccine during service”” or has investigated the shots’ health effects, and to share what resources, if any, the VA “ provide[s] service members who are concerned that a COVID-19 vaccination led to their injury.”
The COVID vaccines, developed and reviewed in a fraction of the time vaccines usually take under former President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, continue to be dogged by public concern over evidence of harmful side effects, which the federal government has been largely uninterested in pursuing.
Medical billing data from the Pentagon’s Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED) shows that 2021 saw drastic spikes in a variety of diagnoses for serious medical issues over the previous five-year average, including hypertension (2,181%), neurological disorders (1,048%), multiple sclerosis (680%), Guillain-Barre syndrome (551%), breast cancer, (487%), female infertility (472%), pulmonary embolism (468%), migraines (452%), ovarian dysfunction (437%), testicular cancer (369%), and tachycardia (302%).
In a statement to left-wing “fact-checking” outlet PolitiFact, Defense Health Agency Armed Forces Surveillance Division spokesperson Peter Graves confirmed the authenticity of the records but claimed that a conveniently timed “data corruption” glitch made the pre-2021 numbers appear far lower than the actual numbers of cases for those years, which PolitiFact took at face value.
Until last December, President Joe Biden’s Pentagon leaders enforced COVID-19 vaccine mandates on American service men and women, provoking almost 40 lawsuits and threatening soldier and pilot shortages potentially adding up to tens of thousands, contributing to broader ongoing problems of force strength, troop morale, and public confidence.
“Military leaders broke the law and violated the constitutional rights of individual service members during the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate,” active-duty U.S. Navy Commander Robert A. Green Jr. wrote in a LifeSite op-ed last week. “Ultimately, over 8,400 service members were involuntarily discharged, many with severe charges of misconduct on their records and many with Other Than Honorable (OTH) service characterizations. No military leaders were held accountable.”
The military vaccine mandate was ultimately rescinded, but without reinstatement or back pay for service members ousted while it was in effect.