OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - With the deadlines looming for the military vaccine mandate, a Camp Pendleton Marine has begun his own battle against the mandate.
Lance Cpl. Matthew Northcutt, 20, first enlisted more than two years ago.
“I wanted to be a Marine ever since I was a child. The reality is, potentially, I may not be one,” said Northcutt.
At issue, the military vaccine mandate for Marines, the deadline is late November. Northcutt, who is Baptist, will be applying for a religious exemption.
While Pfizer once used a stem cell line to confirm lab testing, many religious leaders have called the connection to abortion, very remote.
“To me, that means it’s related, linked. I can't abide by that morally,” said Northcutt.
Regardless of whether his exemption is granted, Northcutt has started a fundraising campaign to hire an attorney, with plans to file a federal lawsuit in the coming weeks. He will ask for an injunction against the mandate.
“It’s not just about myself, but about everyone,” said Northcutt
He and others have argued the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine, licensed under the name Comirnaty, isn't available yet. The FDA has said Comirnaty is identical to the shot that received emergency use authorization, but Northcutt says none of the current vaccines should be mandated.
“What I am opposed to as an individual is a mandate for a vaccine that is still largely new,” said Northcutt.
However his lawsuit turns out, the decision of Northcutt's exemption could come in about a month. If it isn't approved, he'll have to decide between his love of the Marines and his faith.
“Ultimately I would have to go with my personal values and personal morals … I can't betray what I feel,” said Northcutt.
As of last week, 1.2 million service members have been fully vaccinated. The Pentagon says about 90% of active-duty members are now fully vaccinated.