Military Pilots Reported 1,700% More Medical Incidents During the Pandemic

The number of medical events that triggered official reporting requirements among U.S. military pilots rose more than 1,700% from 2019 to 2022, an increase the Pentagon says was the result of COVID-19.

Last month, an Army flight surgeon and prominent opponent of the U.S. military’s now-defunct COVID-19 vaccine mandate posted data on Twitter showing that the number of reportable medical events among military aviators rose from an average 226 a year between 2016 and 2019 to 4,059 in 2022, according to the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database. (LTC Long’s Twitter account)

But the Pentagon says the pilots contracted the virus and that large number of positive COVID-19 cases drove up the reported medical events. The virus spread in record numbers in 2021 and 2022, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Defense Health Agency.

The flight surgeon, Lt. Col. Theresa Long, has filed for whistleblower protection and testified against the vaccine mandate, alleging that the vaccine carries risk of severe side effects — more than the illness itself. Long did not respond to a request for comment from

According to her tweet, Long said she searched the database for all reportable events involving military pilots following the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement in October it was easing some requirements for airline pilots regarding their cardiac health.

She, along with other opponents of mRNA vaccines, asserts that the FAA policy change was related to an increased number of patients with heart damage caused by the vaccines, according to her tweets.

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