The number of medical incidents being reported among U.S. military pilots soared more than 1,700% from 2019 to 2022.
In January, an Army flight surgeon posted data from the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database on Twitter showing that the number of medical incidents among military pilots rose from 226 a year between 2016 and 2019 to 4,059 in 2022 alone.
However, the Pentagon said a large number of positive COVID-19 cases was the reason behind the surge in reported medical events among pilots.
The flight surgeon, Lt. Col. Theresa Long, who testified against the vaccine mandate, said the vaccine carries the risk of severe side effects.
In a tweet, Long said she scoured the database for all reportable medical events involving military pilots in the wake of the FAA’s announcement it was easing some requirements for pilots regarding their cardiac health.
Long asserts the FAA’s policy change has related to an increase in patients with heart damage due to the vaccines.
However, the Defense Department disregarded Long’s claims, asserting the increase in adverse events among military pilots was due to COVID-19, not the vaccine.
Defense Health Agency spokesman Peter Graves told Military.com that Long mischaracterized the data, accusing her of defining the medical events as those causing “death, permanent harm or severe temporary harm.”
However, he said the Pentagon requires potential threats to the population, the chance of widespread transmission, or illnesses that cause disruption also be reported.
“The increased numbers of reportable events in 2020, 2021, and 2022 are due to the reporting of COVID-19 cases,” Graves said.
Graves argued that 96% of the 4,059 reportable events among pilots were related to COVID-19, adding the disease accounted for 88% of all reportable events.
More than 2 million military service members were vaccinated against the illness, with more than 8,400 being discharged after they refused to follow the vaccine order.
According to various studies, there is a risk of myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination.
Research published in the journal JAMA Cardiology in 222 found 1,077 incidents of myocarditis and 1,149 incidents of pericarditis out of the 23.1 million people in four Nordic countries who took the vaccine.
Military.com noted several service members were diagnosed with heart inflammation following the military vaccination effort.
Health problems among pilots have become common in other areas of aviation, including commercial.
Last September, an Ikar Airlines pilot died during a flight between Novokuznetsk to St Petersburg in Russia after reportedly feeling sick during the flight, prompting an emergency landing.
In June, a British flight instructor suffered a heart attack and died during an instruction safety fight. The autopsy revealed the pilot suffered an acute cardiac failure.
Just this week, a United Airlines was diverted after the pilot reported suffering “chest pains” mid-flight.
The Airline faced controversy in 2022 after over 2,000 employees filed a class-action lawsuit over unconstitutional vaccine mandates.