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Rep Carter Opposes COVID Vaccine Mandate For Troops

Rep Carter Opposes COVID Vaccine Mandate For Troops

U.S. Representative Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) joined nearly twenty of his colleagues in calling on U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to abandon plans to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for members of the military. 

Secretary Austin confirmed reports of a vaccine mandate Monday, August 8, 2021, saying the Department of Defense would require all servicemembers to be vaccinated by September 15. Carter, a pharmacist, says the mandate is an unprecedented violation of the law. 

“The law is clear: the Secretary of Defense does not have the authority to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations until they are fully approved by the FDA,” Carter said. “President Biden and Secretary of Defense Austin are not above the law, and blanket mandates only work to further erode confidence and trust in COVID-19 vaccines. I call on President Biden to rescind this illegal order and work with Congress to instill enough confidence in the vaccines for Americans to get them on their own accord.”

Federal law explicitly prohibits the Secretary of Defense from mandating vaccination for servicemembers that have not been fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Federal courts affirmed this law and made clear the federal government cannot mandate a vaccine or drug absent individual consent or a Presidential waiver (Doe v. Rumsfeld, 341 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2004). The FDA has approved three COVID-19 vaccines under an Emergency Use Authorization.

Carter is concerned any mandate will only further erode trust in the safety of the vaccines.

“I’ve got so much confidence in this process that I participated in clinical trials as part of Operation Warp Speed,” said Carter. “Threatening our troops with retaliation if they aren’t ready to get vaccinated yet does nothing to address their concerns. This should be a conversation, not an order.”

Joining Rep. Carter on the letter are Rep. Mark Green (R-TN), Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI), Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH), Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL), Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN), Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC), Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS), and Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC).
Full text of the document here.