Hundreds of people, including Los Angeles municipal employees, protested against Covid vaccination mandates outside City Hall today in a demonstration organized by a group that calls itself Firefighters4Freedom.
Many people among in crowd were wearing clothes designating their employment with city and county fire departments, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other local government agencies.
Some of those people said they were prepared to lose their job over the city’s vaccination mandate, which gives them until Dec. 18 to comply. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said last month that any city employee who refused to get vaccinated against Covid 19 by a December 18 deadline “should be prepared to lose their job.”
Across the city as a whole, a mandate requiring proof of vaccination at most indoor businesses went into effect today.
One Los Angeles firefighter at today’s rally, Scott Tomlin, said he is prepared to lose his job “because I’m not prepared to lose my life over it.”
There were speakers who identified themselves as law enforcement including Michael McMahon, an LAPD officer who said he was suspended last Friday for refusing vaccines and testing
Fox11’s eye in the sky, Stu Mandel, posted photos of the crowd at the event.
Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park across from City Hall a family friendly protest against the Dec 18 vax mandate. FireFighters Law Enforcement DWP other city workers all invited @FoxNewsNow @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/J3jcVud2U5
— stu mundel (@Stu_Mundel) November 8, 2021
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and L.A. County health officials say reports of Covid-related deaths following vaccination are extremely rare.
The CDC does warn of a “plausible causal relationship” between Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine and a rare blood clot event known as TTS. It occurred at a rate of seven per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old. The CDC was looking into five reported deaths related to complications from TTS following administration of the J&J vaccine. As of mid-October, more than 15 million people in the U.S. had received that vaccine.
Meanwhile, infection rates in Los Angeles and California have begun rising again in the past week.
Several people at the rally noted that Mayor Garcetti recently tested positive for Covid, indicating to them that the vaccines do not provide protection against the virus. However, the CDC reports that unvaccinated people are at 6.1 times greater risk of testing positive for Covid than fully-vaccinated people and 11.3 times more likely to die from the virus than people who have been vaccinated. In California, unvaccinated people are at 6.8 times greater risk of testing positive, according to the state’s daily dashboard.
As of Sunday, 754,051 people in the United States have died of Covid, 72,698 of them in California.
According to information from LAPD Chief Michael Moore last week, his department’s vaccination rate is likely around 85%, which is very high compared to the overall population.
Through Dec. 18, unvaccinated employees have to submit to two Covid tests per week, and $65 per test will be deducted from their paychecks. Employees have to get tested during their free time, and testing has to be conducted by the city or a vendor of the city’s choosing. Third party tests will not be allowed.
The union representing Los Angeles police officers filed a lawsuit against the city for requiring employees to pay out of pocket for their tests.
Those seeking religious or medical exemptions will also be required to take two tests per week at the employee’s own expense while the city processes the exemption request. If an exemption is approved, the employee will be reimbursed for testing costs and going forward will be required to test for Covid once per week, but the city will pay for it.
If an exemption request is denied, the employee will have five business days to file an appeal. If they do not appeal the decision, they will be issued a notice that they must submit proof of vaccination. Failure to do so would result in “corrective action.”
The employee will be able to either resign or retire “all in good standing in lieu of discipline” if they do not comply with the mandate. Those employees will also be eligible for rehire if they get vaccinated or if the vaccination order is lifted.
Exemption requests are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis. People can qualify for an exemption if they have a medical condition or sincerely held religious beliefs, practices or observances that prevent them from receiving the vaccine.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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