Following Governor Newsom’s October 1 announcement that the COVID-19 vaccine would be a requirement for all private and public schoolchildren, hundreds of Kern County parents kept their children from attending school to express their disproval of the mandates.
The COVID-19 vaccine mandate won’t go into effect until January 2022 or July 2022, but Kern County parents want their voices to be heard and have already begun fighting back against the mandate. In addition to keeping their children out of school on October 18, parents took to the streets outside of the Kern County Superintendent of Schools building to express their disapproval.
Parents and children stood in front of the building while some parents came forward to give speeches on their opinions of the vaccine and mask mandates, the main message of which was “my child, my choice.” Students from Kern County high schools — Liberty, Centennial, BCHS, and others — were among the crowd as well.
“If my kids want to get the shot then I will let them have that choice, but that should be my choice as their parent,” one parent stated outside the KCSOS building. “It should not be the state telling me what I must do.”
Parents expressed their desire for medical freedom and the right to choose whether they wanted to get the COVID-19 vaccine for themselves and their children. Some parents also expressed their fear of unknown side-effects that could occur if they were to get the vaccine. There were also comments on why the vaccine should be mandated if the possibility of contracting COVID-19 still exists.
“The best example I can tell you is that when we go into a car we put on our seat belts, even if it is uncomfortable, it feels kind of weird, it is different, it can really save our lives. So, we get in the car, we put it on, it does not mean that we are going to be like bumper cars everywhere, to see where we find a wall. But if we don’t have a seat belt and there is an accident, we are going to fly out the windshield. Vaccines work the same way. These vaccines are our seatbelt, because that way we protect ourselves and we protect the people around us and that accident is precisely when we get together with COVID-19. None of the COVID vaccines are one hundred percent. None say we promise one hundred percent. It is not true. It says above, that is, Moderna and Pfizer above ninety percent and I do not remember the specific number of Johnson and Johnson, but it is also above seventy percent. So we are really very protected against disease. It is true we can get sick, but the difference is that the people who are in the hospital right now, who are in intensive care, the vast majority of them are unvaccinated.”Dr. Shapiro, Medical Director of Health Education and Wellness at AltaMed Health Services, on “Why should I get vaccinated if I’m going to get sick anyway?”
On October 18 before the protest outside the KCSOS building, Robert Meszaros, Director of Communications at KCSOS, issued a statement in regards to the protest:
“We respect the right for people to peacefully advocate for their beliefs. However, protesting by keeping students out of school will only lead to lost learning time,” said Meszaros.
Meszaros also attempted to dispel COVID-19 misinformation by continuing his statement with various facts on the COVID-19 vaccine and the requirement of vaccines in the education system.
“Requiring vaccinations to attend school is not a new concept. There have been requirements in both public and private schools for decades. See the details here on what shots are required when: https://www.shotsforschool.org/,” the statement shared. “As of now, there will be a personal belief exemption, so parents could opt out if they choose. This will remain true unless the state legislature votes otherwise.”