Wave Wire Services
SANTA MONICA — A coalition of groups including medical professionals, first responders, parents and students gathered in Santa Monica Aug. 21 to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates, saying they will segregate society, breed more hate and violate the rights of hundreds of thousands of people.
A crowd estimated by one organizer at about 1,000 people turned out to Tongva Park to push back against the growing trend of government vaccine requirements. Those mandates include a motion passed by the Los Angeles City Council Aug. 11 directing the city attorney to prepare an ordinance requiring people to show proof of at least partial vaccination against COVID-19 to enter most public indoor spaces in the city, including restaurants, bars, gyms, concert venues, movie theaters and even “retail establishments.”
The “S.O.S California No Vaccine Passport Rally” was held one week after a demonstrator was stabbed and several people on both sides engaged in fistfights and threw objects at each other during dueling demonstrations over the contentious issue in front of Los Angeles City Hall.
The rally featured an array of speakers including a firefighter, a Marine, a nurse, an eighth grade student from John Adams Middle School, a teacher, parents, and others who say they are being threatened with job loss across the state if they do not comply.
The groups object to a vaccine mandate on several grounds.
They say it will not address the problem of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Those who take the vaccine can still get and transmit the virus,” they say. “Currently, blame is placed on the people who choose not to take the vaccine, claiming with no scientific backing that the pandemic is a ‘pandemic of the unvaccinated’ when currently fully vaccinated people are still dying from COVID and filling up hospitals.”
The groups further state that mandates do not take into account the natural immunity of those who have already had the virus, and would “force people who are already immune to COVID-19 to take the shot.”
The groups also contend that vaccination mandates will create a “two-tiered society,” foster segregation because those who are not vaccinated will not be allowed to participate in society, and breed more hate in Los Angeles. They further say that “labeling someone an anti-vaxxer merely because they have questions surrounding a new experimental shot with no long-term studies conjures up” memories of Nazi Germany, where Jews were blamed for “spreading diseases they did not have.”
They also worry that it could be a “pre-cursor to a digital infrastructure that not only controls entrance into indoor spaces, but controls education, employment, travel, finances, and potentially all movement or interaction in society.”
They say it will hurt small business owners when their customers are no longer allowed in stores and they voice concerns that once a mandate is enacted, officials will continue to require more and more “booster shots” of the vaccine pointing to last week’s announcement that federal health officials are recommending that all vaccinated people receive a third shot of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine to boost their immunity.
Tracy Henderson, founder of California Parents United and legal director for Utah Parents United, says the decision to take the vaccine should be a personal choice, and she worries that forcing children to wear masks can also have harmful effects on their health.
“I think it amounts to child abuse,” she told City News Service. “Children shouldn’t be affected to protect the health of adults.”
Henderson says the government shouldn’t be telling people how to take care of their health in the first place, and she questions why the FDA hasn’t pulled the vaccines from use already due to concerns over possible side effects.
“Products have been taken off the market for 25 deaths. … Why is the FDA approving something with this many deaths?” she said. “The cure is worse than the disease.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare.
“More than 357 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from Dec. 14, 2020, through Aug. 16, 2021,” the CDC said. During that time, the reporting system received 6,789 reports of death (0.0019%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Henderson suspects the numbers of adverse health reactions to the virus and deaths are higher than reported, and says hospitals are “filled with vaccinated people.”
But the main issue for her and other organizers of the Aug. 21 rally is freedom. Henderson said vaccines and mask wearing should be left to personal choice.
“Wash your hands. If you feel sick, stay home. Respect others,” she said. “I respect you if you want to go the route of the vaccine. Just don’t make me do it.”
Federal, state and Los Angeles County health officials have insisted since the vaccines were first approved for emergency use that they are safe and effective. Although vaccinated people can still catch and spread the coronavirus, officials say the vaccines reduce that likelihood.
More importantly, they say, they greatly reduce the chances that a person who does get the virus will develop symptoms that might require hospitalization or even result in death.
As of Aug. 15, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported that out of the nearly 10.3 million residents in the county — including those who are not yet eligible for the vaccine — 63% have received at least one dose, and 55% are fully vaccinated. The department says that among the more than 5.1 million fully vaccinated people in L.A. County, officials have identified 27,331 fully vaccinated people who tested positive for COVID-19 — less than 1% of all those vaccinated.
The department also says just 0.014% of all fully vaccinated people in the county end up hospitalized, with deaths in that group numbering 68 people, or 0.0013%.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2020, and the agency approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use in February 2021.