Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced on Thursday (Jan. 27) that he has joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s lawsuit seeking to block the U.S. Department of Defense from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for National Guard members who are under state command.
The Pentagon has required COVID-19 vaccination for all service members, including the National Guard and Reserve.
Attorneys for the two governors say that when National Guard members are serving the state, the federal government has no command authority. The lawsuit said the mandate is an unconstitutional overstepping of bounds.
More than 220 members of the Texas Air National Guard and about 40% of Texas Army National Guard members are refusing to be vaccinated for “either religious accommodation needs or otherwise,” according to the lawsuit. About 8% of Alaska Air and Army National Guard members have not received a first dose of any COVID-19 vaccine and of these members, “more than 90% have requested a medical or religious exemption, yet no such exemptions have been granted.”
“A small number of additional Alaska National Guard members are refusing any COVID-19 vaccine,” the lawsuit said.