Group protests school vaccine mandates after latest FDA approval

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO — Dozens of people rallied against potential future vaccine mandates for children ages 5 to 11 in San Diego Wednesday after the FDA approved Pfizer’s vaccine for younger children this week.

While the FDA approval gives emergency use authorization for that group to get vaccinated, California’s mandate for schoolchildren only requires the shots in cases where the age group has full FDA approval.

The group protesting Wednesday, a local chapter of the prominent national anti-vaccine organization Children’s Health Defense, said they weren’t waiting for that new mandate to take effect to voice their opposition. Chants and signs with “my body, my choice” filled Waterfront Park by Harbor Drive along the Embarcadero.

“I will stand up and fight with the rest of them for the choice to be able to go to public school and decide what goes in your body,” said Johanna Bradley, a mother of two homeschooled children.

Even though vaccine mandates do not affect her kids’ schooling, she told FOX 5 she was rallying in support of families who do have children in the public school system.

“America is built on freedom and freedom to chose,” Bradley said.

Organizers at the rally said they were not opposed to other people getting vaccinated, but that they opposed making it a requirement to participate in school and other elements of public life.

“We don’t want to stop the vaccine, we are not necessarily saying people don’t have a choice, but we want people to have the medical freedom to say ‘no’ if they need to,” said Paloma Neuman, a volunteer with Children’s Health Defense.

You can read more on the websites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration about why their health experts say the approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for children.

FOX 5 also spoke to Dr. John Bradley, the medical director for infectious diseases at Rady Children’s Hospital, about why he and his team of doctors are encouraging parents to get their kids the shots.

FOX 5’s Matt Meyer contributed to this report.

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