Sen. Johnson questions Department of Defense on COVID vaccine safety

Johnson referenced data showing major increases in medical diagnoses of service members.

Updated: February 3, 2022 - 7:27pm

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Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on Tuesday sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin questioning the safety of the mandated COVID-19 vaccine after whistleblowers came forward with data showing an apparent increase in medical diagnoses among service members in 2021.

Johnson said he heard "disturbing information" last week from attorney Thomas Renz, who was representing three Department of Defense (DOD) whistleblowers. Renz showed Johnson data from the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED) showing an increase in "miscarriages, cancer, and many other medical conditions in 2021 compared to a five-year average from 2016-2020," the senator wrote. 

The DOD told PolitiFact on Monday that the increase was due to a problem with the database from 2015 to 2020, but the 2021 numbers were accurate. The official said DMED has since been taken down to "identify and correct the root-cause of the data corruption."

Johnson's DMED data showed an increase in diagnoses of hypertension by 2,181%, nervous system diseases by 1,048% and female infertility by 472%, among other things.

Renz told Johnson that diagnoses of myocarditis, or heart inflammation, was removed from the database.

The Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged that people, especially young males, are more likely to develop heart inflammation after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine but say the benefits outweigh the risks.

The DOD told Politifact that the database "represented only a small fraction of actual medical diagnoses" from 2015 to 2020, but because the 2021 numbers were correct, it showed the "appearance of significant increased occurrence of all medical diagnoses in 2021 because of the underreported data for 2016-2020."

In his letter to Austin, Johnson wrote, "The concern is that these increases may be related to the COVID-19 vaccines that our servicemen and women have been mandated to take."

The Wisconsin Republican wants to know if the DOD is "aware" of the increases in diagnoses and why the myocarditis diagnoses were reportedly removed.

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