- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 3, 2021

A senior U.S. Army flight surgeon who warned that pilots could die in mid-air from COVID-19 vaccine side effects testified Tuesday at a roundtable hosted by Sen. Ron Johnson on Capitol Hill.

Testifying under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act, Lt. Col. Theresa Long told the Wisconsin Republican at the event that she had grounded vaccinated pilots to monitor symptoms of myocarditis — including chronic fatigue — that could cause them to die of heart failure in mid-air.

“I made numerous efforts to get senior medical leaders to at the very least inform soldiers of this risk; my concerns were ignored,” Dr. Long said at the event.

The colonel, an aviation safety officer, said she decided to speak up after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in June an “emergency meeting to discuss higher than expected myocarditis in 16 to 24-year-olds.”

Despite that announcement, she said “the military didn’t even pause their vaccination efforts” to rush out the Pfizer and Moderna shots.

A spokesman for the 1st Aviation Brigade at Fort Rucker in Alabama, where Dr. Long is responsible for certifying the health of 4,000 flight-ready airmen, referred any particular “medical questions” about her appearance at the roundtable to the Army Surgeon General’s office.

“We’ll confirm that she’s assigned here and that she appeared in her own individual capacity,” Lt. Col. Andy Thaggard told The Washington Times on Wednesday.

Mr. Johnson told The Times that the roundtable was part of his effort to hold federal agencies accountable and encourage officials to be “honest and transparent regarding COVID-19 vaccines.”

“I hope Americans, especially those in power, listen carefully to what the participants had to say. We all want the pandemic to be over, but ignoring early treatment and implementing policies that do more damage is not the solution,” the Republican senator said.

The Times reported Sept. 28 that Dr. Long had filed an affidavit against the Biden administration’s military vaccine mandate as part of a pending lawsuit seeking an injunction against attempts to force service members to get the shots.

The U.S. District Court for Colorado in August rejected the lawsuit originally brought by two Army staff sergeants but invited the plaintiffs to present the new evidence that includes Dr. Long’s testimony.

So far the Biden administration has ignored the suit.

Todd Callendar and David Wilson, the two lead attorneys for the plaintiffs, said this week that a military gag order allows Dr. Long to give testimony upon request to political representatives despite banning her from media appearances.

Mr. Wilson said the colonel provided her personal opinion at the senator’s event as a citizen, not as a representative of the Army.

“Her oath and the law, to include her risk management training, require informed consent, which many doctors in the military are completely ignoring to just follow the direction of those above them and be perceived as the heroes getting all vaccinated despite the potential consequences,” he said.

In her testimony at the roundtable, Dr. Long quoted a young woman training for the Army Ranger School who confessed to the colonel that she regretted getting vaccinated.

“I hate to say how much I regret that decision,” Dr. Long quoted her as saying. “It’s been a little over two weeks and my body isn’t right.”

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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