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Concerns over federal vaccine mandate spark rally for medical freedom in Jackson

Published: Oct. 9, 2021 at 10:14 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 9, 2021 at 10:18 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A number of Mississippians gathered at Sillers Outdoor Pedestrian Mall Saturday to participate in a rally for medical freedom.

This comes a month after President Joe Biden announced a mandate requiring companies with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforces are vaccinated or regularly tested.

Many of those at the rally said a vaccine mandate isn’t American because it infringes on personal liberties.

They fear that if the government can force you into getting the shot, they’ll continue stripping away people’s freedom from here on out.

“I’m 64 years old, and I’ve never been forced to put something into my body that I didn’t choose to do,” participant Carolyn Gordon said.

Many held signs with messages that contradict the advice of doctors and health experts. There were even signs on the porta potties that read “Dump Dobbs.”

“I haven’t seen those signs,” Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson said. “I don’t know what to make of that. I’m not a doctor; I don’t claim to be. I’m just here talking about freedom.”

Gipson spoke at Saturday’s rally and said he’s not anti-vaccine, but he is anti-mandate.

“If people want to get the vaccine, I want them to have it,” Gipson said. “But if they can’t get it or if their conscience prevents them from taking it for religious reasons, they shouldn’t have to be forced.”

But many in attendance said they are against the vaccine for various reasons. Participant Sue Jordan said she doesn’t trust what it’s made of.

“The COVID vaccine, they’re made off of aborted baby tissue,” Jordan said. “And I’m totally against that — I’m pro-life.”

Gipson also said he believes the vaccines are made out of aborted baby tissue.

This is not the case, according to the CDC’s list of COVID-19 ingredients.

However, Gipson said his mom got the vaccine and that he encouraged her to do so.

Another participant — Paige Boykin — said she feels the shot is still in the experimental stage even after Pfizer’s vaccine got FDA approval.

“It has taken the lives of many people, and it has injured many people,” Boykin said. “Of course, media does not want to cover that.”

Friday, the Mississippi State Medical Association’s past president and chair, Dr. Daniel Edney, said of the nearly 3 million Mississippians who’ve received at least one dose of the vaccine, not a single death has been linked to the shot.

“If people were dying from the shot, our morgues would be overflowing,” Dr. Edney said.

But Boykin said her statistics tell a different story.

“In 2021, you’ve had more people diagnosed with COVID and die from COVID versus in 2020,” Boykin said. “What’s the difference? In 2020, we didn’t have a shot.”

However, past WLBT reports show Mississippi counties with low vaccination rates typically have higher case counts compared to counties with higher vaccination rates and similar population sizes. Additionally, the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths this year have been among the unvaccinated.

Gipson said he hopes to see legislation that protects people’s freedom ahead of the next legislative session.

He also said that he thinks there will be a lawsuit, leaving the courts to decide whether a vaccine mandate is constitutional.

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