Unvaccinated West Point cadets claim they are being treated like second-class citizens

Military academy denies coercion amid outcry from minority of trainees

Gino Spocchia
Friday 18 June 2021 16:07
<p>US army cadets graduating </p>

US army cadets graduating

Unvaccinated army cadets at the United States Military Academy are reportedly complaining of second-class treatment in the face of tougher restrictions.

Around three dozens cadets at the military academy in West Point, New York, are unvaccinated, according to Fox News. The training facility is a base for roughly 4,500 cadets.

It is alleged that unvaccinated cadets are facing restrictions after the rolling out of vaccines to almost all cadets at West Point, with a few not allowed to take a full summer break.

Allegations also include negative report cards for breaking rules on face coverings and social distancing, and coercion to receive Covid vaccines.

As Fox News reported, West Point does not require trainees to take a Covid vaccine, but complaints about second-class treatment were aired this week.

An anonymous cadet said of the conditions: "It's like solitary confinement – for a disease we don't have”.

A parent of another cadet at West Point, Elita Perusek, said to Fox News anchor Sean Hannity that her son was facing a shorter summer break “because he chose to exercise his right to not take the vaccine”.

It was reported that a negative Covid test and a week of self-isolation are required of unvaccinated cadets on returning to West Point.

Ms Perusek added that her son was told “he would be called ‘susceptible status’…and that he would have to submit to restriction of movement throughout the summer”. It was not clear if that applied to all unvaccinated trainees.

Although cases of Covid in New York are currently at all-time lows – thanks in large part to the state’s vaccination rate – the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to ask unvaccinated Americans to wear face coverings in a majority of circumstances.

It also remains uncertain whether individuals infected with Covid continue to be immune from the virus, as the cadets in the Fox News report claimed to be.

A spokesperson for West Point told the network that it there were reports of harassment towards unvaccinated cadets, that had been addressed. It also denied coercion.

The Independent has reached out to the military academy for further comment.

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