Doctor fired for COVID views lends support to Pensacola suit challenging military vaccine mandate
PENSACOLA — The latest filing in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida challenging a Department of Defense mandate that U.S. military personnel and DoD civilian workers be vaccinated against COVID-19, is an affidavit from Texas cardiologist Dr. Peter McCullough, who has questioned the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
The lawsuit names retired U.S. Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, now the U.S. Secretary of Defense, as a defendant, along with a number of other federal officials. It was filed by 16 unnamed plaintiffs, all with military affiliations, including two active-duty Eglin Air Force Base officers.
The lawsuit was filed by three attorneys associated with Defending the Republic, a conservative nonprofit organization operated by Sidney Powell, an attorney who was deeply involved in unsuccessful efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election on behalf of former President Donald Trump.
The legal action seeks to have the vaccine mandate declared unlawful, and more immediately is seeking a preliminary and temporary restraining order to halt its implementation. It was unclear Wednesday how a preliminary and temporary restraining order would work, given that, at least for the Air Force, the deadline for at least active-duty Air Force personnel to have received the vaccine has effectively passed.
The deadline for the Air Force is Nov. 2 for active-duty airmen, but the service deems that airmen can only be considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the vaccine, meaning that an airman would have had to get the vaccine on Oct. 19. The Air Force deadline is Dec. 2 for Reserve and Air National Guard troops.
The Navy deadline, which includes the Marine Corps, is Nov. 28 for active-duty personnel and Dec. 28 for Reservists.
The Army deadline for all active duty service members is Dec. 15, with the deadline for Reserve and Guard troops set for June 30 of next year.
The deadline for civilian DoD personnel to be fully vaccinated is Nov. 22.
With regard to McCullough, in recent months the Texas A&M College of Medicine, Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Medicine have removed him from their faculties, according to Medscape, a news website for medical professionals.
Early in the pandemic, McCullough was the co-author of a report in The American Journal of Medicine addressing outpatient treatment for coronavirus using off-label medications such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
Hydroxychloroquine has, though, been noted by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for its lack of efficacy in treating COVID-19 and its potential to create heart rhythm problems. The use of ivermectin also is rejected by the FDA as an effective treatment.
On Aug. 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the licensure of the Pfizer vaccine as a two-dose vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Moderna announced three days later it had completed its submission to the FDA for full approval of its COVID-19 vaccine for ages 18 and older. That approval is still pending.
FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock is among the defendants named in the lawsuit challenging the vaccine mandate.
McCullough also has spoken publicly about a multi-drug regimen he developed, but has been criticized for a lack of controlled studies of his ideas to treat COVID-19
Nonetheless, he continues to enjoy a public following. Earlier this month, the Bartlesville (Oklahoma) Examiner-Enterprise reported that he spoke to a standing-room-only crowd in the town's community center.
At that event, the newspaper reported that McCullough said the coronavirus "is more than a medical topic, now our freedom, our jobs, our school, somehow everything got linked to COVID-19. COVID-19 went from being a medical problem to now being an issue of somehow everything you do is related to taking a vaccine."
In his 210-page affidavit in the federal lawsuit — two-thirds of which is a listing of his lectures and other professional achievements — McCullough contends that he believes, "based on a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the vaccine could cause serious injury to, or the death of, the Plaintiffs."
McCullough also expresses his additional belief "within a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the data upon which the DOD has based its mandate is flawed and/or inaccurate; and imposing this vaccine is not only dangerous and could cause harm to the Plaintiffs and other service members subject to the mandate."
Elsewhere in his affidavit, McCullough contends that the United States has reached "herd immunity" in connection with COVID-19, meaning that "spread will be minimized and there will be no more large outbreak curves as the country experienced in November through early January ... ." McCullough further writes that health risks from COVID-19 are "negligible ... for adults younger than the age of 60."
He also contends that a public vaccination program constitutes nothing more than "a clinical investigation and under no circumstance should any person be pressured, coerced, or threatened with reprisal to influence their free choice of participation."
In closing, McCullough contends "in my expert medical opinion, the ... mandatory administration of COVID-19 vaccines creates an unethical, unreasonable, clinically unjustified, unsafe, and unnecessary risk to the Plaintiffs."