Dr. Peter McCullough is celebrating the repeal of the U.S. military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate and is calling for 24-year-old Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin to reveal his vaccination status after his recent cardiac arrest during a live NFL game.
“Out of all the sectors that we have in the economy and our American existence, the military had the strongest commitment to COVID-19 vaccination,” McCullough said in an interview with NTD News.
McCullough said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was clear in how he exemplified the military’s commitment to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement, and as a result, “the vast majority of the military, in fact, took one of the COVID-19 vaccines, or they have had an exit from the military because they wouldn’t.”
In an Aug. 9, 2021 statement, President Joe Biden called for adding COVID-19 vaccines to the military’s list of required vaccinations. On Aug. 24, 2021, Austin issued an order, mandating the vaccines across the military.
Over the course of the military vaccine mandate, more than 8,000 service members were discharged for remaining unvaccinated. In many instances, service members sought exemption to the vaccine mandate on religious grounds, but few were approved.
The military-wide vaccine mandate was one of several efforts to require vaccination of federal employees. Other state and local governments also imposed vaccine requirements for government employees. Some COVID-19 vaccine mandates have been rescinded, while others have been struck down in courts.
The military’s vaccine mandate was ultimately rescinded through a provision in the 2023 defense budget.
“For those in the health freedom movement, this is one of the largest victories that can be claimed that, indeed, the mandates were defeated,” McCullough told NTD News.
While the military vaccine requirement has been rescinded, it remains unclear whether service members who were previously discharged for refusing the vaccine will be allowed to reenlist.
McCullough Calls for Damar Hamlin to Reveal Vaccine Status
In addition to his assessment of the recision of the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, McCullough also shared his reaction to Hamlin’s recent on-field cardiac arrest. McCullough said it would be appropriate to ask for Hamlin’s vaccination status following the medical incident.
“The legal standard or the clinical standard should be whether or not it’s a public health importance,” McCullough said. “And so we saw this operationalized through the pandemic, where a restaurant or a sports venue like a Buffalo Bills football game would ask for someone’s vaccine status, they would actually have to give up their protected health information to get into the venue. And why did they do that? Because the claim was, it’s of public health importance.”
“Now when we flip that around, and we’re seeing complications from the vaccines—that the FDA agrees occur, like myocarditis, blood clots, neurologic injury—when these cases come up, and other people [are] at risk for that problem, it’s of public health importance,” McCullough continued. “And so it’s based on that chain of logic, that it’s my professional view, that yes, his vaccination status should be disclosed.”
The exact cause of Hamlin’s cardiac arrest remains unclear. Last week, William Knight, lead physician and professor of emergency medicine at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said, “We do not have definitive answers as to the etiology of the arrest, and tests will continue to progress.” Doctors did not determine what caused Hamlin’s condition by the time they released him from the hospital on Wednesday.
McCullough said that if Hamlin was indeed vaccinated, others may be at risk.
The NFL has reported a vaccination rate among players of around 95 percent. McCullough said that statistic represents a 95 percent chance Hamlin also received a COVID-19 vaccine.
“If he has suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of taking the vaccine, which is well described in the peer-reviewed literature, now we have a public health importance issue for other players who’ve taken the vaccine,” McCullough said.
McCullough also disputed claims that a condition, called Commotio Cordis, could have potentially caused Hamlin’s cardiac arrest. Commotio Cordis can happen if a person is struck in the chest and the impact causes an abnormal heart rhythm and cardiac arrest.
McCullough said there are about 20 to 30 cases of cardiac arrest as a result of Commotio Cordis per year.
“It’s never happened in pro football because of the sternal breastplate protector, plus, the impact is just not that focused in such a high velocity, so by mechanism, Commotio Cordis was ruled out,” he said.
McCullough said a study in France described two cases of people who had myocarditis prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, or the advent of COVID-19 vaccines, who suffered cardiac arrest as a result of a blow to the chest.
“So there was a theory that potentially an external blow in the setting of myocarditis could do it; only two cases reported,” McCullough said.
Rather than an external blow to the chest affecting a myocarditis case, McCullough raised the possibility that Hamlin’s cardiac arrest could have been the result of a sudden surge of adrenaline affecting a heart inflammation.
“What we knew prior to COVID is if someone had heart inflammation, they could not participate in sports, because the surge of adrenaline could trigger a cardiac arrest,” McCullough said. “And when I looked at Damar Hamlin, what I saw was the biggest game of the year, potentially the biggest game of his career, the early part of the game, so he couldn’t have been dehydrated, he’s all ready to go, makes that first tackle, big surge of adrenaline gets up, begins to celebrate, touch his helmet, clap his hands, and then falls over backwards.”
NTD reached out to the Buffalo Bills for comment.
Steve Lance contributed to this report.