Thousands of U.S. Military Soldiers Refuse COVID-19 Vaccine: ‘I Heard That This Thing is Actually a Tracking Device’
Thousands of U.S. service members, about a third, are refusing the COVID-19 vaccine even as coronavirus deaths top 488,000 in the United States.
Brig. Gen. Edward Bailey, surgeon for Army Forces Command, seemed dumbfounded to explain the anti-vaxxers, notes the Associated Press:
We’re still struggling with what is the messaging and how do we influence people to opt in for the vaccine. I think the most amusing one I heard was, “The Army always tells me what to do, they gave me a choice, so I said no.”
An unidentified officer recalled hearing a Marine citing a false conspiracy theory: “I heard that this thing is actually a tracking device.”
The officer informed the Marine that the cell phone he carried was already tracking his position.
The Food and Drug Administration has allowed the vaccine to be used based on emergency use, so the military cannot force soldiers to take it. However, that may be changing soon.
Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, commander of the Navy’s 2nd Fleet, said the military will make vaccinations required in the future:
We cannot make it mandatory yet. I can tell you we’re probably going to make it mandatory as soon as we can, just like we do with the flu vaccine.
A recent Monmouth University poll has found that 42 percent of Republicans said they would “never get” vaccinated, reported the New York Post.
Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told Democracy Now how the “globalized anti-science movement” is spreading dangerous disinformation that threatens public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.