A retired U.S. Air Force colonel says now that the COVID-19 vaccine mandate is being rescinded, military leaders need to reflect on how it impacted readiness and work to make those negatively impacted whole.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Defense sent the Illinois National Guard guidance for implementing rescission of COVID-19 vaccine mandates for service members issued in 2021. The move follows members of Congress approving the end of the mandate late last year.
Recently retired Air Force Col. Mark Hurley said he was suspicious of the mRNA vaccine from the beginning when there were needs for special deep freezers to transport the product.
Early in the process of the national guard assisting in the distribution and administration of vaccines in early 2021, Hurley said he saw his first allergic reaction from a normally healthy first responder being injected with the vaccine.
Hurley decided to never accept the vaccine. He then fought for the rights of his troops to not be impacted by the mandate just months after President Joe Biden reversed his position on whether to mandate the shots.
Readiness problems from the get go were apparent, he said, as they typically have to recruit 15% new members each year to make up for retirements.
“And if you add to it folks who refused to take the vaccine, that’s another 10% drop, and then on top of that, what we didn’t expect is people getting sick from the vaccine, so that’s an additional drop,” Hurley told WMAY. “That’s why we’re facing so many readiness issues right now.”
With the mandate rescinded, Hurley said those impacted financially need to be made whole.
“The second thing is, you have to make sure how their careers won’t be hurt because they didn’t follow an order,” Hurley said. “And then the third part of that is, OK, once we do that, do you really want to force back into the same organizations that they came from with the same leadership because they already don’t have a trust for that leadership.” . . . (read more on Center Square)
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