Former Killington/Mendon legislator Job Tate is a currently-serving “Seabee” in a U.S. Navy construction unit. A well-regarded former legislator and strong conservative, Tate was asked to comment on the Navy’s recent requirement that all personnel be vaccinated. Here’s his response. – Editor
By Job Tate
I initially avoided getting the vaccine because I wanted to stay at the back of the line for the most vulnerable.
Then I avoided the vaccine because I believe myself to have a healthy immune system and had most likely already had Covid…and believed the statistical health threats, including the anecdotal aches and pains, outweighed my threat from the actual virus.
But the Navy has required me to take almost every vaccine under the sun. When I deployed to Africa I took a daily regimen of anti-malarial pills for weeks before I deployed, every day I was there, and for weeks after I returned.
These pills caused many sailors nausea every morning. Fortunately, I never had that problem.
But I was never excited about taking them.
Military service is a very unique profession – we are trained to sacrifice our lives at a moment’s notice.
Taking the vaccine is a lawful order. Statistically it is proven to be highly effective against a highly contagious disease.
I wish it hadn’t been mandated but I am pleased the DoD is offering servicemembers an honorable discharge if they refuse this order.
Many service members have valid health and religious concerns for not getting a vaccine, and they have ample avenues to address those concerns.
As a died-in-the-wool conservative: For those servicemembers that are refusing the vaccine for political purposes, I have very little sympathy.
We can never become a force that weighs its obedience against our own political ideologies.
“Embrace the suck” or get out.
P.S. – I am diametrically opposed to vaccination mandates in the private sector and the rest of the federal government. My children will get the Covid 19 vax over my dead body and I wouldn’t have gotten vaccinated if it weren’t mandated (had my 2nd dose on Oct 5).
But the apolitical military is a completely different animal, and it should be.
I remember during one of the first few days of boot camp, there was an event where my division marched to medical and we each stood on a hallway on a blue line and walked to different colored lines where sailors on either side of us would shoot 6 shots into each arm from these little pneumatic guns.
I didn’t know then and I don’t know now what were in those shots. I still would have walked down that hallway.
This is really no different in my opinion.