A federal judge denied a request from Oklahoma’s governor to exempt the state’s National Guard members from getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Judge Stephen Friot from the Western District of Oklahoma denied Gov. Kevin Stitt’s request for injunction against the vaccine mandate, stating that the Defense Department regulations “leave no doubt that the department’s vaccination protocols must, and do, apply as fully to the statutory reserve components (including the Guard) as to the active-duty forces,” per CNN.
- “First, adding a 10th FDA-approved vaccine to the list of nine that all service members are already required to take would hardly amount to ‘an enormous and transformative expansion (of the) regulatory authority’ the Secretary of Defense already possesses,” Friot wrote, per NBC News.
- “And, to say no more on this point, there is nothing ‘transformative’ about a force protection measure first conceived and enforced by General George Washington when he required members of the Continental Army to be inoculated against smallpox,” he said in the 29-page ruling.
Friot also noted that the National Guard, generally overseen by governors, has historically been included in the military-wide vaccination mandates, per the report.
He urged the Pentagon to “give every consideration to providing a brief grace period — to facilitate prompt compliance with the vaccination mandate — before directly or indirectly taking action which would end the military careers of any Oklahoma Guard members,” per U.S. News.
Per CNN, six other Republican governors have spoken out against the mandate, including governors from Texas, Wyoming, Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Nebraska.