UPDATE: 11 a.m. ET June 23: The U.S. Military Academy Public Affairs Office told The Christian Post that the academy "does not have a vaccination policy" and follows guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Department of Defense and the U.S. Army for its unvaccinated cadets.
"[Guidance] requires them to wear masks indoors and outdoors when not able to maintain six feet of social distancing. Most of cadet summer training takes place outdoors and allows for social distancing so unvaccinated cadets spend minimal time wearing masks during training events," the USMA statement reads. "Currently the DoD is not mandating vaccinations for U.S. military members, and it remains optional but encouraged for West Point personnel. Any harassment, abuse, threats, or punitive measures targeting unvaccinated personnel is antithetical to West Point policy, ideals, and Army values. West Point takes every report of inappropriate behavior very seriously and takes immediate actions to address such reports in a timely manner.”
West Point cadets who've opted out of taking the COVID-19 vaccine have faced disciplinary actions and are being treated with disdain at the military academy, according to their parents.
Although the U.S. military doesn't have a vaccine mandate, the majority of West Point cadets are vaccinated. Only about three dozen remain unvaccinated at West Point, which has more than 4,500 students, Fox News reports.
Unvaccinated cadets have been called names like “dirty” and are forced to wear masks in shared spaces, including barracks and when taking a shower.
In an interview with Fox News opinion host Sean Hannity on Thursday, three parents of unvaccinated West Point cadets shared how their children have faced a “ridiculous amount of pressure” to take the vaccine.
Mathias Sampson, an Army veteran, said his daughter has “valid concerns” about the COVID-19 vaccine and how it could have “long-term effects” or affect her fertility.
A West Point cadet familiar with the matter told The Christian Post in an interview that a fellow cadet who is unvaccinated is packing immense pressure from other cadets.
“He and other unvaccinated cadets are getting pressure from other cadets,” the source told CP. “I believe there’s a little bit of making fun of them [for not taking the vaccine] and things like that, from what I understand.”
He added that an unvaccinated cadet he knows has “significantly less time” for summer break due to the mandatory quarantine period required for the unvaccinated.
CP contacted West Point for comment but did not receive a response by press time.
Brian MacDonald's whose daughter has natural immunity and also attends West Point, told Hannity that she has decided not to take the vaccine.
Cleveland Clinic released a study that found those who had COVID-19 already have natural immunity and were not at risk of being re-infected, with or without receiving the vaccination, Life Sciences reported.
Another study found that people who've had COVID-19 will likely produce antibodies to fight the first for the rest of their lives.
"I don’t understand what the leadership at West Point is doing right now," MacDonald told Fox News. "Quick thing on my daughter: She loves the Lord; she loves her country. And all she wants to do, her dream, is just to serve both at West Point right now.”
He said West Point is putting “a ridiculous amount of pressure” on his daughter to be vaccinated even though she has the antibodies, which are proven to fight the infection.
“It’s clearly not about the science anymore,” MacDonald said.
As an American, MacDonald said he is “deeply concerned” about what is happening at the military academy.
Elita Perusek, a 1994 West Point graduate, now has a son at West Point who also has a natural immunity to COVID-19. Since he did not receive the vaccine, he will have to give up some of his leave and had to return seven days early for what she described as “isolation” or quarantine.
“My son is a first-class cadet, and he is very much looking forward to being an officer and defending the rights of fellow Americans and his right to not take the vaccine,” she said.
An anonymous cadet told Fox News: "It's like solitary confinement — for a disease we don't have."
A spreadsheet with personal information and students’ vaccination status has reportedly been circulated on campus.
Col. Laura Dawson, a medical officer at West Point, has been accused of berating cadets and calling them selfish for not getting the vaccine or suggesting they get the vaccine or leave the military academy.
"Currently, the Department of Defense is not mandating vaccinations for U.S. military members, and it remains optional but encouraged for West Point personnel," the academy's public affairs office said. "Any harassment, abuse, threats, or punitive measures targeting unvaccinated personnel is antithetical to West Point policy, ideals, and Army values. West Point takes every report of inappropriate behavior very seriously and takes immediate actions to address such reports in a timely manner."
Emily Wood is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org