Recommended Do’s and Don’ts
- Contact an attorney immediately. Your base/unit is required to provide you with free legal representation if you cannot afford an attorney.
- Have the appointed attorney contact retired LtCol John Richardson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Maintain your professionalism at all times.
- Do your job.
- Do any demeaning task (within limits) that may be asked of you as your punishment is either considered or being carried out.
- Know your facts, but don't expect the facts to win the argument. AVIP is not, and never has been, about the truth.
- Document everything that happens to you in writing. Keep a diary, write memos for record, and send emails to third parties in order to record what happens to you as it happens.
- Expect a heated response from your chain of command -- your courage will be intimidating to them, so expect first sergeants, commanders, military medical personnel and even chaplains to react illogically or emotionally.
- Attempt refusing the order without first seeking counsel. Your chain of command will counsel you prior to imposing UCMJ punishment. You are entitled to military defense counsel, but there is nothing they can do as the “order” to take the vaccine is considered lawful. Some military defense counsel may try to convince you to take the shot; if so, ask your commander for new representation.
- Get into any argument with your chain of command. The facts are on your side, so be dispassionate.
- Refuse any further orders given to you (within the law). This will bring on further charges and attempt to show a pattern of misconduct.
Past punishments/threats known to have been received for refusing to take the Anthrax Vaccine:
· Jail/Brig time: Max 90 days.
· Demeaning jobs/labor.
· Fines: (highest seen to date: $21,000.00 in fines and denied bonuses to a USAF doctor). Most fines are loss of half or full pay for one to three months).
· Confinement to base.
· Reduction in pay.
· Loss of job and/or security clearance.
· Discharge (dishonorable, bad conduct or general under honorable).
· Threats of up to 10 years in prison and a felony conviction.
· Threats of being strapped down and forcibly vaccinated.
It is important to remember that a punishment MUST fit the crime. Ten years in prison is unrealistic. It is very possible however that one may be looking at 90-120 days in confinement (prison/jail/brig, etc.).
There is an Army Regulation which does state that one can be forcibly vaccinated, however, according to Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, due to the barbaric nature of that policy, it has never been implemented.
A felony record may be accrued with a discharge of dishonorable or bad conduct. However, a conviction under the UCMJ is not an automatic felony. There is no civilian offense for refusing a vaccination that would equate to a felony. Therefore, refusing the vaccine and being convicted under the UCMJ may affect federal employment, but will not otherwise adversely affect your life as a civilian.
A dishonorable or bad conduct discharge will likely make you ineligible for VA benefits.
Realize that refusing the vaccine will essentially eliminate your right to challenge the lawfulness of the order in federal court. An alternative, although possibly undesirable, is to object to taking each shot in writing but to still take the shots. The record of your written objections -- while still following the order to take the shot --- will make you an ideal plaintiff against DoD. If you decide to take this route, advise MBVP immediately, and you can become part of a federal lawsuit to stop the shots (at no expense to you).