Forced US military vaccinations - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 07-03-2004, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dh says he has to get a smallpox vaccination before he deploys! I don't understand why they are giving this vaccine if it has stopped being used. He says he cannot refuse (not that I think he would anyway). He says he won't get it until after we have said our goodbyes and they are just about to leave because the vaccinators don't want them coming home after getting the shot. Well, doesn't this put up some red flags! I mean, if they don't want to expose families to it, it can't be safe. So, my dh says it wouldn't be a problem if you take the necessary precautions. He had to take a class on getting the vaccination before he could get it. Well, um, that doesn't make me feel any better. If it's safe, why do you need to take precautions? Why don't the powers that be see the contradiction in this?

I'm not sure what my purpose in this post is. At first I was going to ask if anyone has any knowledge or experience with getting an exemption, but then I realized my dh wouldn't ask for one anyway. Maybe I just need to vent? It scares me to think that he is being forced to get a vaccination that is so dangerous the military won't let them come home after getting it. It also scares me that he doesn't even question it even though he has to take precautionary measures. I just don't know what I'm thinking right now. It's bad enough he's leaving but this on top of it gets me just that more upset.

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#2 of 14 Old 07-03-2004, 04:52 PM
 
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Actually .. the military can't FORCE vaccinations of any kind, regardless of where a person is being sent. They can suggest, they can cajole, but if they even attempt to force the issue it's considered aggravated assault.
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#3 of 14 Old 07-03-2004, 05:42 PM
 
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I'm sorry your family is having to go through this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife
...I don't understand why they are giving this vaccine if it has stopped being used...
They are giving it to troops going overseas because anthrax and smallpox are two of the top biological warfare threats. Until very recently, Smallpox was considered a concern primarily for troops going to South Korea, but now they have expanded that concern to troops going to the Middle East.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife
...He says he won't get it until after we have said our goodbyes and they are just about to leave because the vaccinators don't want them coming home after getting the shot. Well, doesn't this put up some red flags! I mean, if they don't want to expose families to it, it can't be safe...If it's safe, why do you need to take precautions? Why don't the powers that be see the contradiction in this?...
It's not families per se, it's children under the age of 2 that are not supposed to be exposed to someone freshly vaccinated. If your children are older than that, you get the smallpox vaccine before you leave.

The choice right now is to not vaccinate and risk exposure to Anthrax or Smallpox via biological warfare or to at least try and vaccinate the troops, even thought the vaxs have risks of their own.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife
...It also scares me that he doesn't even question it even though he has to take precautionary measures. I just don't know what I'm thinking right now. It's bad enough he's leaving but this on top of it gets me just that more upset.
I hear you on that. But I think it's different being the spouse at home and being the one possibly facing biological warfare. I don't know that I'd be able to say "No" to something that might, no matter how slim the chances, save me in the event of an attack. I tried to share with my SO that these vax's could have effects we won't know about for decades and he told me "Biological warfare could kill me within the next year." I think sometimes there are no good choices. It's an upsetting situation, no matter how you look at it.
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#4 of 14 Old 07-03-2004, 06:31 PM
 
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Vaccinations and the military --

My understanding is that you can refuse vaccinations in the military.

However it is tricky and the soldier needs to stand his ground.

I have heard of soldiers being court martialed for refusing or having dishonorable discharges or being physically vaccinated by "force"...no evidence, just anecdotal...

I also heard that the anthrax and smallpox vaccine was withdrawn and then it was reintroduced for use in the military...I think it is a trial balloon for the rest of the population. Our turn is coming.

My DH told me he was always sick after he got his mega-vaccinations in the military...it was the reason he agreed not to vaccinate our four children.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#5 of 14 Old 07-03-2004, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Weebitty - Do you have some specific info? From what I've always understood, you are basically the property of the US military once you sign on. That doesn't really give you much leeway other than requesting discharge, which does not have to be granted.

Pugdamaman - I can understand your dh's argument if you believe that vaccines work. The thought of biological warfare is very scary and real. However, if you come from a belief that the vaccines do not work, what good does it do to get it, especially if doing so means definite exposure rather than possible exposure?

applejuice - The only time I can remember hearing of anyone refusing a vaccination was the recent story of a soldier who refused the anthrax vaccination. I never did learn the outcome of that but, if I remember correctly, he was facing some sort of disciplinary action. My dh is career Marine so he has no intentions of doing anything that would jeopardize that. I will ask him to take note of how he feels after getting the vax. Maybe that will help to bring him over to my side about the kids at least.

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#6 of 14 Old 07-03-2004, 08:13 PM
 
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I just wanted to address the issue of military members refusing vaccines. Refusing a vaccine, either on your way to a combat zone or just as a matter of course, would not only end your career, it would result in in a court marital and a bad conduct discharge for "disobeying a lawful order from a superior officer under Article 90 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.". The military courts have upheld these rulings on appeal.

There is a immunization waiver for the armed forces, but it must be obtained upon first signing up or enlisting and even that is only available for religious or health (allergies, etc.) reasons. I am really curious to know if the military actually gives these waivers out or if requesting them means you won't be allowed to join? I've also not been able to find any information indicating that you can have a successful military career with one of these waivers. My SO has served with thousands of other Marines and they all get every vaccine.
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#7 of 14 Old 07-03-2004, 09:45 PM
 
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As a military mama who doesn't vaccinate her dd, this is quite the touchy subject for me!! I know for a fact that if I were to refuse, I would be court-martialed - my commander is an MD who believes in the "power" of all vaccs!!

pugmadmama - good point about the waiver - I didn't know about it until it was too late for me, but now that I think about it, I have never met anyone who had one - it may turn out to be one of the many reasons that they turn away new recruits!

MarineWife: We have been giving out the vaccine here for almost two years, and unlike the Anthrax, we have not had any reported reactions. They are probably giving it to your dh when they are just to be "safe". We also give them out as they are boarding the plane much of the time - since everyone is getting it or already has it, they figure that is safer. I wish you and your family all the best, and hope that you are able to hear from dh often and that he returns home safe to you very soon. Thank you for being a military spouse - I know that it is not an easy task!!

I would like to clarify that when I say "we" I mean our squadron - I took part in the deployment line one time (doing paperwork) and the way they treated deployers who asked any questions about the smallpox vaccine was so sickening to me that I refuse to be any part of it anymore.

Take care.
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#8 of 14 Old 07-04-2004, 12:30 AM
 
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Former mil wife -- sympathy
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#9 of 14 Old 07-04-2004, 01:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Actually .. the military can't FORCE vaccinations of any kind, regardless of where a person is being sent. They can suggest, they can cajole, but if they even attempt to force the issue it's considered aggravated assault.
My cousin joined the Army and they told him when they joined that he would probably have to get the Anthrax vax sometime during his tour. Recently his unit was mobilized for Iraq and they required him to get the vaccine. When he questioned this, they threatened to give him a dishonorable discharge, and put him in jail for some period of time, and force him to get the vax anyway. He went ahead and consented to it despite his objections because his unit commander really gave him no other choice.

According to this site, and I don't know how credible it is, but this site says that it's up to the Unit commander. Sometimes soldiers can get transferred instead of taking a vax, sometimes they're just screwed- depends on the individual situation. https://www.milvacs.org/Refusing/Refusing.cfm

Good luck.

Kristina in Kitsap County, WA
Doula, Student Midwife, Mama, Wife & More
http://redspiral.blogspot.com
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#10 of 14 Old 07-04-2004, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Christina and Electra.

Christina, thank you for also serving your country the way you do. I can't imagine being a military mama. It must be very difficult.

The way my dh described it, he will probably get the vax as he's boarding the plane. He will not do anything to screw up his military career and will not ask or expect him to. So, I guess I will just have to live with this.

My dh had the anthrax vax about a year ago. We were ttc at the time so I hoped he could get out of it because of that but no dice. They said only if I was already pg could he delay getting the shot. He was told to wear a bandage over the injection site for several days and not get too close to me. The fact that they take these precautions just to be safe doesn't make me feel better. It tells me that no matter how much rhetoric they spew about how safe these things are, at the least they don't really know and at the most they know the vaxes are not truly safe. (Did that make sense?)

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#11 of 14 Old 07-04-2004, 04:29 PM
 
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s My dh will be deployed sometime in the next 6 months to a year and I know he will get that shot also unless they suddenly make it optional but I doubt they will.

I hope your dh has no lasting effects from his shots.
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#12 of 14 Old 07-04-2004, 09:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pugmadmama
I just wanted to address the issue of military members refusing vaccines. Refusing a vaccine, either on your way to a combat zone or just as a matter of course, would not only end your career, it would result in in a court marital and a bad conduct discharge for "disobeying a lawful order from a superior officer under Article 90 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.". The military courts have upheld these rulings on appeal.

That's exactly what we were told when we were mobilized 10 years ago. I do know of a few medics/nurses who would chart immunizations on the yellow card that they hadn't given but I sure wouldn't want to get caught falsifying the records.

Lyndsey's mom and former Officer
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#13 of 14 Old 07-05-2004, 10:40 PM
 
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Don't Christian Scientists serve in the armed forces???

Isn't it against their beliefs to get vaccinated?

What happens to them? I do not think they are 4F because of their religion, then again I do not think they are forceably vaccinated.

One of the last newspaper columns that Dr. Mendelsohn wrote before he died was about this subject, and he invited others to write in with their experiences. Alas, that never happened. So, I wonder, if you really have to be vaccinated or can they be waved on the basis of personal/religious belief? :

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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#14 of 14 Old 07-05-2004, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pugmadmama
There is a immunization waiver for the armed forces, but it must be obtained upon first signing up or enlisting and even that is only available for religious or health (allergies, etc.) reasons.
To answer your question, applejuice. I have no idea what happens once you ask for one of these waivers. As pugmadmama said, it could be used as a way of weeding people out.

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