All Alaska Airmen must submit to an experimental COVID shot by Dec. 2 or face military discipline and separation. Those seeking a narrow medical or religious exemption have until Oct. 12 to make their requests known.
This information was shared in two communications issued Sept. 16, a letter by Brigadier Gen. Anthony Stratton, commander of the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing, and an email from Master Sgt. Nina Kolyvanova, 176 Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Included with the vaccine mandate notice was a frequently asked questions form which laid out the consequences for any service member who refuses the jab.
The FAQ notes that since the vaccines are being mandated, “only vaccines with full FDA licensure may be required.”
“At this time, that only includes the COMIRNATY® (Pfizer) vaccine,” the form states. It then notes that if the FDA licensed Comirnaty short is not available, providers can use the emergency use authorized Pfizer shot interchangeably to impose military vaccinations.
“If counseling and informal efforts fail to convince the member to receive the vaccine, a member’s chain of command could, as a last resort, take appropriate administrative or disciplinary action commensurate to the alleged offense, up to and including discharge,” the FAQ letter states.
It also warns that there are no exemptions from the experimental shots for those who are 12 months from retirement or within 180 days of separation. Additionally, there will be no involuntary separation pay for service members who refuse the jab.
The non-vaxed may also be required to repay bonuses and educational expenses.
Pregnant service members “may pursue a temporary medical exemption following vaccine counseling from her healthcare provider,” but no such opportunities are afforded to women who are planning to become pregnant or who are currently breastfeeding, the FAQ notes.
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Additionally, it states that prior natural infection from COVID does not exempt service members from having to take the COVID shot.
One question asks: “What will happen to my career if I refuse to take the vaccine when it’s mandatory?” The answer: “Absent an approved medical or administrative exemption (e.g., religious accommodation), any refusal by a service member to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
A separate fact sheet was also provided for service members which explains the medical risks of taking the Comirnaty shot. These include the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Dizziness and weakness
- Swelling of your face and throat
- Shortness of breath
- A fast heartbeat
- A bad rash all over your body
- Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
- Pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart)
- Feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart
- Severe allergic reactions
- Non-severe allergic reactions such as rash, itching, hives, or swelling of the face
- Injection site pain
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)
“These may not be all the possible side effects of the vaccine. Serious and unexpected side effects may occur,” the fact sheet adds. “The possible side effects of the vaccine are still being studied in clinical trials.”