In a unanimous decision similar to the Navy’s in the spring, an Air National Guard administrative separation board voted to retain a service member who refused to comply with the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, while West Point found an unvaccinated cadet guilty of misconduct.
On Wednesday, an Air National Guard administrative separation board voted 3-0 to retain Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Jacob Byers after finding he didn’t commit misconduct by refusing to follow an order to take the COVID vaccine.
The Air National Guard administrative separation board determines whether to retain or separate a service member.
The board found that the vaccine order was unlawful for the same reason as did the Navy administrative separation board , namely that the mandate was for the experimental COVID vaccines approved under FDA emergency use authorization (EUA). The military has not made fully FDA-approved versions of the vaccines available to military members. The Coast Guard, however, has claimed that it has the Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine, which is fully approved by the FDA.
During the board hearing, which went from Monday through Wednesday, Byers’ military attorney presented a whistleblower report sent to Congress regarding the Comirnaty vaccine.
The whistleblower report alleges that the Comirnaty vaccine available at some military clinics is not actually the fully-approved FDA version of Pfizer’s vaccine, but, rather, the EUA version. The military can only legally force service members to receive vaccines that are fully approved by the FDA, the lawyer argued.
Byers was on active duty for eight years before joining the Air National Guard, where he had a full-time, active-duty position in the Active Guard Reserve (AGR). He was removed from that position in February after receiving a letter of reprimand in December for refusing the vaccine.
Following removal from his AGR position, Byers returned to his previous, full-time, position as a dual status federal […]
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