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Military Should Continue COVID Vaccines

The recent editorial "'Shot or boot' an unfair disciplinary cudgel" (Dec 14) concluded that the military COVID-19 vaccination mandate should end for the following reasons:

• With President Biden having declared this past September that “the pandemic is over,” the shot or boot no longer serves a meaningful purpose.

• The vaccine does not prevent COVID-19, as initially believed.

• It has the potential risk of myocarditis for young men.

After researching each of the above reasons, I believe that the military should continue their vaccination mandate. Let's review each of the above.

First, while President Biden did declare the pandemic over, that was back in September. A lot has transpired since then. As early as October, New York State started recommending masks again in light of a "tripledemic surge" of RSV, flu and COVID cases flooding hospitals.

RSV is respiratory syncytial viru, a viral infection of the respiratory tract, which commonly affects children below the age of 2. In addition, COVID cases have sharply risen in December along with related deaths and hospitalizations. This may reflect that only 14.1% of the population have received boosters to combat COVID variants.

Second, with the onset of COVID variants of SARS-CoV-2 (Alpha, Beta, Delta and Omicron) and sub-variants, the CDC states, "that while breakthrough infections in vaccinated people are expected, getting vaccinated and staying up to date with your vaccine and a booster shot is the best protection against severe illness.” And CDC studies found that "vaccinated pregnant people were protected against COVID-19 related hospitalizations and emergency or urgent care visits compared to pregnant people who were not vaccinated."

And third, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart tissue) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) have rarely been reported (39-47 cases per million vaccine doses administered). When reported, the cases have especially been in adolescents and young adult males within several days after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. "CDC continues to recommend that everyone ages 6 months and older get vaccinated for COVID-19. The known risks of COVID-19 illness and its related, possibly severe complications, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization, and even death, far outweigh the potential risks of having a rare adverse reaction to vaccination, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis."

In conclusion, the military should continue its COVID vaccine mandate. COVID is still a major health concern, and vaccination is still our best defense.

Ronald Berg


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