Far-right ‘MAGA medical group’ files lawsuit against the Pentagon’s COVID vaccine mandate: report

Far-right ‘MAGA medical group’ files lawsuit against the Pentagon’s COVID vaccine mandate: report

When a coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 4.7 million people worldwide and over 695,000 of them are in the United States — according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore — a vaccine mandate for the U.S. Armed Forces makes perfect sense. But a lawsuit filed by a "MAGA medical group," consisting of far-right anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists, is aiming to stop the Pentagon's vaccine mandate, according to Daily Beast senior researcher Adam Rawnsley.

Gen. Lloyd J. Austin, Secretary of Defense in the Biden administration, ordered all active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces to get vaccinated for COVID-19 — and the far-right MAGA anti-vaxxers, in response, have filed a lawsuit against the Pentagon.

Rawnsley, in an article published on September 30, explains, "Lt. Col. Theresa M. Long, who serves as the brigade surgeon for the Army's 1st Aviation Brigade, filed an affidavit late last week in support of the suit's motion to block the vaccine mandate — arguing against the requirement based in part on her false belief that 'all persons who have received a COVID-19 vaccine are damaged in their cardiovascular system in an irreparable and irrevocable manner'…. The affidavit was filed as part of a suit brought by lawyers working with America's Frontline Doctors (AFLDS), according to the group, and requests a declaratory judgment blocking the vaccine requirement, on behalf of Staff Sergeants Dan Robert (USA), Hollie Mulvihill (USMC), and anti-vaxxers within the military."

Long, according to Rawnsley, "has joined a small but increasingly vocal group of field-grade officers encouraged by conservative activists and media as part of the right wing's crusade against COVID-19 vaccine mandates."

"The few officers and enlisted service members who have gone public with their opposition to the vaccine mandate are now finding increasing support among Republican members of Congress," Rawnsley notes. "Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), James Lankford (R-OK), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), for example, have recently drafted (a) proposed amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act that would gut the proposed vaccine mandate."

According to Rawnsley, roughly 70% of the U.S. military has been vaccinated for COVID-19. Austin and President Joe Biden would like to get that number even higher.

The good news about the AFLDS lawsuit, according to Rawnsley, is that it "faces long odds."

"Within the military," Rawnsley observes, "Long's own court filing suggests that ardent anti-vaccine attitudes may not be that widely shared. Long wrote that she's encountered 'mixed results in terms of acceptance, rejection and threats of punishment' over her opinions."

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