In November 2021, Matthew Bouchard, a specialist in Maine’s National Guard, who was planning to leave the military a few months later, asked his chain of command whether he would be required to take a yearly influenza shot.
He was told that he had to take a flu shot and at the same time he could fill out a COVID-19 vaccine refusal form since he was seeking a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination mandate, Bouchard said in an interview for EpochTV’s “Crossroads.”
When Bouchard entered the vaccination room at the military base in Maine, there were two waiting lines next to each other: one for COVID-19 shot and one for influenza vaccination, he said.
Bouchard said he first filled out a COVID-19 vaccine refusal form and handed it to an officer at the registration table. Then he filled out a flu vaccination paper and got in the flu shot line.
Bouchard moved to the other line but the officer giving COVID-19 shots suddenly changed his mind. Bouchard recalled that the officer told him: “Never mind, I’m just gonna go do something else. You can get back in your line.” Bouchard got back into his flu vaccination line and received a shot when his turn came.
After receiving his shot, Bouchard spoke with the officer administering COVID-19 jabs and explained to the officer that he applied for a COVID-19 exemption because of his Christian faith. “I was told that, because I wanted to go for my religious exemption … the NCO [non-commissioned officer] that was doing the COVID vaccinations was going to be the person to talk to.”
Bouchard said he never had an answer regarding his prior religious exemption requests from the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the next day he was summoned to the commander’s office where he met some higher-ranked officers and a chaplain.
“’Yesterday, you went to go get your flu vaccine. That wasn’t the flu vaccine they gave you, that was a COVID vaccine,’” Bouchard recounted what he was told in the commander’s office. “Immediately, I just kind of froze. I was mostly in shock.”
Bouchard said that when he asked the officers whether it was planned, the answer was “no.” One officer told him in private that there would be an investigation on how it happened but he never received any information on the investigation, Bouchard continued.
“As soon as they told me [about the vaccine mistake], the trust was gone. Because these are people that are supposed to be like my second family. I go to war with them, I would die for them.”
Becoming a Whistleblower
Bouchard said he stepped forward as a whistleblower because he wanted to expose what had happened to him. “The sad thing is when a mistake like this happens, it mostly just gets covered up, it gets forgotten,” he said.
“Right now, my big mission is I just want to spread the awareness” of what happened not only to him but also to a lot of others, Bouchard said.
“They never gave me an answer on the investigation. So I want a fair investigation because I want to know if it was intentional,” Bouchard said. If it was intentional, he wants to make it public, he added.
Bouchard said his decision to join the military a year after high school was not motivated by obtaining any benefits such as college or health insurance.
“I just wanted to serve my country,” he explained, “because I wanted to have a better head start in life, and I wanted to have something that was beyond me. The military has impacted how I was raised. It taught me what’s worth it, what’s not worth it, there’s things that are a lot bigger than my own personal issues.”
When the military introduced the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, “the morale is gone,” Bouchard said, adding that “a lot of us people feel the same way.”
“It didn’t matter how long you were in, it doesn’t matter what you did, it didn’t matter where you deployed, it didn’t matter who you were. It was like, if you don’t get the vaccine, then you’re a ghost to us.”
Those who refused to take the vaccine faced separation or demotion, and some could lose their job, Bouchard said.
In an emailed statement. Maj. Carl Lamb, a public affairs officer in the Maine National Guard, told the Epoch Times that “three service members were accidentally given a COVID vaccine during a clinic for service members where both influenza and COVID vaccinations were being administered.”
“Those involved were informed as soon as the error was made known, an inquiry was conducted, and protocols were adjusted appropriately to ensure the same mistake was not made again. The inquiry determined the incident was accidental,” Lamb said.
“The Maine National Guard has not, and would never purposefully administer a COVID vaccine in place of an influenza vaccine,” Lamb added.
“So [Bouchard’s] basic human rights and civil rights to be able to have informed consent and refuse experimental medical treatment were all compromised by the actions of the Maine National Guard,” Younts said. “Military members, under federal law, have to be given informed consent, just like any of us.”
In Bouchard’s case, injecting him with a wrong product, first and foremost, has violated his religious beliefs, the lawyer said.
“I’ve served in the military for 20 years, I’ve never seen a situation like this, where anyone received the wrong vaccination because they so tightly control it,” Younts commented.
Military members swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States; that’s the starting point when you enter military service, Younts said.
Explaining the broader implications of COVID vaccine mandates, the lawyer said that “part of what’s happening here is the executive branch. Military leadership is ignoring the constitutional process.”
“They’re ignoring duly passed laws by Congress, like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and like the federal statutes that prevent the military from experimenting on military members.”
“If we’re not going to recognize that for our military members, our whole society starts to break down. And that does create a constitutional crisis,” Younts said.
Source: The Epoch Times