ALL NEWS

Before mandating troop vaccine, Stewart says consider national security

Nov 3, 2021, 6:53 PM

Hill Air Force Base announced Tuesday that the 388th Fighter Wing and 419th Fighter Wing have resum...

Hill Air Force Base announced Tuesday that the 388th Fighter Wing and 419th Fighter Wing have resumed daily F-35A flight operations. (Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. John Winn)

(Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. John Winn)

SALT LAKE CITY — Should the US military have the power to discharge soldiers, sailors, and airmen for refusing to be vaccinated? On Wednesday, a Utah congressman shared his insights as a veteran pilot.

Chris Stewart, R-Utah, spoke with KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega and guest host Maura Carabello (of the Exoro Group, based in Salt Lake City). They discussed balancing the need to protect the military from devastating illness with the power of the United States military to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for all personnel.

 

Deadline for mandated troop vaccine came and went

The deadline for all Air Force and Space Force troops and personnel to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus was Nov. 2.

Nearly 8,500 active-duty members of the Air Force and Space Force have missed the deadline, according to the Associated Press. Also, of the 326,000 active-duty members of the Air Force and Space Force, 95.9 percent are fully vaccinated and 96.9 percent have gotten at least one shot, the Associated Press reported.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby added that 99% of sailors have received the vaccine, 93% of the Marine Corps and the Army “is in the 90th percentile.”

The Pentagon has repeatedly stopped short of saying it will terminate troops for refusing the shot.

“When an individual declines to take a mandatory vaccine, they will be given an opportunity to talk to both medical providers as well as their own chain of command so that they can fully understand the decision they are making,” Kirby said, according to Military.com.

Get your shots

Military personnel are required to receive as many as 17 vaccines. Stewart said he stood in vaccination lines while serving in the military.

“And yet we all did it because we realized that to engage in warfighting to be deployable, to fulfill our mission, we needed to do that. We may be exposed to anthrax, but this is different for a number of reasons. Number one is they’re allowing no exceptions at all,” Stewart said.


 

Exemptions for refusing the vaccination include medical, religious and administrative. Decisions on exemptions will be made by unit commanders around the world on  a “case-by-case” basis.

He added there is no exception from vaccination for military people who have naturally recovered after COVID-19.

Related: Military weighs penalties for those who refuse COVID vaccine

“There’s some very credible studies saying they’re actually more protective than they would if they had the vaccine, and they’re allowing no exception for them,” Stewart said.

“While there is some evidence natural infection provides strong immunity, there is variability from person to person and less predictability than vaccine immunity,” said Dr. Emily Sydnor Spivak, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at University of Utah Health.

Pilots cost big money

Dave pointed out that it can cost between $7 million and $10 million to train an Air Force pilot. “Are we just going to let those pilots leave?” he asked.

Stewart said in the US intelligence community, up to 40% of the agents have not been vaccinated as of last week. He asked if all of those workers should be terminated on the same day.

“If you’re going to do that, why don’t you think we should talk about it first and inform the American people and make sure they understand and allow them to think if this is a good idea or not?” he asked.

Stewart added there also should be more leeway for people with medical conditions, such as pregnancy, cancer survivors, and those concerned about adverse medical interactions with other medications.

“And they’re accommodating none of these people. . . It’s either you get vaccinated by December 3 or you’re terminated. The implications for our national security is we’re just not going to worry about that. I just think it’s a terrible policy and one that we should highlight. One we should discuss before we go any further,” he said.

Related: Sen. Lee wants safeguard against military discharge for refusing vaccine

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Vehicles travel on I-15 in northern Utah County. New Mountain View Corridor construction is set to ...

Tammy Kikuchi

Construction on Mountain View Corridor project to begin this week

The Utah Department of Transportation will start construction Wednesday on a segment of the Mountain View Corridor.

29 minutes ago

Sam Snyder, ski technician, uses mountainFLOW Eco-Wax, a biodegradable, plant-based, fluoro-free wa...

Eric Cabrera and Derrick Jones

PFAS chemicals found in Park City water, ski wax to blame

A potentially dangerous chemical (PFAS) was found in three Park City water wells. All signs point to the slopes and ski wax.

59 minutes ago

People working past retirement age...

Nicole Goodkind, CNN

More people are working well past retirement age. It’s not easy

Americans over 75 are the fastest-growing age group in the workforce, more than quadrupling in size since 1964.

1 hour ago

FILE -- The gathering room at the YCC Family Crisis Center in Ogden is pictured on Tuesday, July 9,...

Heather Peterson

Transitional housing for domestic violence victims opening soon in Ogden

Victims of domestic violence will soon have another way to escape dangerous situations in Weber County. The YCC Family Crisis Center is building transitional housing by way of a new 14-unit apartment complex in Ogden to house domestic violence victims. Domestic violence is cited as the reason 22-57% of women experience homelessness by the National […]

2 hours ago

season 2 of the letter podcast features family of jordan rasmussen...

Amy Donaldson

The Letter podcast debuts second season on 1982 murders

The 1982 Millcreek murders of two young fathers sets the stage for season 2 of The Letter podcast, exploring themes of trauma and forgiveness.

3 hours ago

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, here on March 6, was sentenced by a New Mexico judge to 18 months in prison ...

Christina Maxouris, Cheri Mossburg and Eric Levenson, CNN

‘Rust’ movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed sentenced to 18 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter

Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorer of the film “Rust," was sentenced by a New Mexico judge to 18 months in prison. She who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter last month.

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

Artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Before mandating troop vaccine, Stewart says consider national security