Soldiers, you ARE LEGALLY ALLOWED to refuse vaccines so if the military force them on you they are BREAKING THE LAW!

My name is Sean Niemi and until April 2nd, 2012 I was a Combat Medic with the United States Army. I served Honorably and Proudly for almost 7 years through 27 months worth of 2 Combat deployments. Iraq in 2006-2007 and Afghanistan in 2009.

The end of my Military career came almost a year and a half earlier than I expected. I was preparing for an upcoming Combat Deployment (would have been my 3rd such deployment) when I decided that I was going to exercise my right to choose to not be vaccinated in accordance with current Army regulations. I had been wrestling with the decision for years at that point and decided that it was time to speak up and submit my Religious Exemption request.

Almost immediately, I was told that no such exemption existed and that I was in violation of Army regulations regarding deployment readiness. I was told to take some time to research my options and come back with a decision as to what I wanted to do after the Christmas Holiday block leave time. I took that time to locate the exact Army Regulation that dealt with such exemption requests. AR 40-562 entitled “Immunizations and Chemoprophylaxis” stated that I did, indeed have the right to request exemption from immunizations, vaccines and any other medical treatment that ran counter to my religious beliefs.

When I presented this evidence to my Chain of Command, I was told that it didn’t apply due to the upcoming deployment.

From that point on, I was regularly ridiculed, spoken down to, passed over for promotions and awards and, on at least one occasion, threatened with violence to myself and another fellow medic.  The threat took the form of my superior saying that he wished he could take myself and the other medic, lock us in a wall-locker and throw in a live grenade with the pin pulled. I understand frustration and that he has stated after the fact that he was just “blowing off steam” and it was “just a joke”, but, fratricide is nothing to be taken lightly or joked about. It was this type of toxic leadership that I believe permeated the Unit and was the driving influence in his decision to reject my exemption request and subsequently order me to get all necessary vaccines and immunizations required for deployment (which, incidentally, consisted of an influenza mist inhaler and a yearly Anthrax booster shot). When I respectfully refused that order due to the fact that I firmly believed it to be an unlawful and immoral order that undermined my Constitutionally protected religious rights I was informed that I would be facing UCMJ punishment effective immediately (which could consist of as much as 1 year in Military Prison, Dishonorable Discharge and a Felony Conviction on my record).

I have endured distrust, name-calling, ridicule, career assassination, the threat of a possible felony conviction with 1 year of Military prison time, unimaginable stress put upon my family and on at least one occasion… death threats.

I decided that I would not give up my fight for my personal rights. After more than 1 year of Court Martial proceedings, multiple depositions, and countless motions submitted by the Military Prosecutors and my Defense team I was finally Honorably discharged with most of my Veteran’s benefits intact on the grounds that the US Army could not accommodate my religious practices and as such I did not meet the needs of the Army.

To see the full story and send a message of support to Sean, please see his blog:

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