An Army surgeon testified this week that her warnings about the COVID-19 vaccine were ignored by United States military leaders, who later notified the doctor that she would no longer see sick patients.
Army Lt. Col. Theresa Long, an Army flight surgeon and aviation safety officer stationed at Fort Rucker, testified at a Capitol Hill roundtable on Tuesday under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. The discussion was hosted by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), according to the Washington Times.
Long said the military ignored her warnings after she was forced to ground vaccinated pilots who showed symptoms of myocarditis – including chronic fatigue – out of concern they could die from heart failure in mid-air.
“I made numerous efforts to get senior medical leaders to at the very least inform soldiers of this risk; my concerns were ignored,” Long told lawmakers.
The doctor testified that two of her patients reported chest pain after taking the COVID-19 vaccination, and both were diagnosed with pericarditis, a condition in which the outer lining of the heart swells.
“After I reported to my command my concerns that in one morning I had to ground three out of three pilots due to vaccine injuries, the next day my patients were canceled, my charts were pulled for review, and I was told I would not be seeing acute patients anymore, just healthy pilots there for their flight physical,” she said, according to AL.com.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said that it is “actively monitoring” cases of pericarditis in patients who receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but maintained that the benefits of the shot “far outweigh” the risks of having a “rare adverse reaction to vaccination.”
A spokesperson for the 1st Aviation Brigade at Fort Rucker told The Washington Times in a statement that Long spoke at the roundtable in her “own individual capacity.”
Last week, a federal judge issued a minute order requesting that President Joe Biden and his administration agree to stop terminating both U.S. service members and civilian federal employees amid a legal challenge to Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The Biden administration later responded, saying it would not halt disciplinary actions and terminations of any federal employees awaiting the court’s ruling on a temporary restraining order (TRO) motion against the vaccine mandate.
The lawsuit brought by 20 plaintiffs includes U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Andrew Soto and Marine Corps Cpl. Christopher Hall, who both submitted religious exemption requests to the COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
The lawsuit argues that various offices of the executive branch “concocted a scheme” to refrain from issuing any rulings on religious exemption requests, and the “task force” in charge of the requests allegedly told federal agencies, “once you grant an exemption to an individual in a job category, it is very hard to say that you’re not going to grant [an exemption] to a similarly situated person.”
In the Department of the Air Force, 8,486 members remained unvaccinated after the mandate deadline on Tuesday. Among them, 800 flat out refused, 4,933 had applied for religious exemptions, and 2,753 had not started either the vaccine process or waiver application. No religious accommodations have been provided.