By Jorge Fuentelsaz
New York, Oct 4 (EFE).- Several hundred anti-vaccine New Yorkers, waving all sorts of signs, on Monday crossed New York’s Brooklyn Bridge shouting “Our bodies, our choice” and other slogans to protest the city’s requirement that teachers get vaccinated against Covid-19 or lose their jobs, a measure that entered into force today.
Teachers and healthcare workers from all ethnic and other groups – including conspiracy theorists – mobilized for the march chanting slogans like “We will not comply,” “Hold the line,” “The system is corrupt,” “End medical apartheid” and “F— (President Joe) Biden and (New York Mayor Bill) De Blasio.”
Rachel, a teacher at a Staten Island school who could not go to work on Monday because she has refused to be vaccinated against Covid, told EFE that authorities were not allowing teachers to enter the schools and meet with their students even though classes had been underway for a month and there had been “no outbreaks” of disease in the classrooms.
She claimed that the authorities are hiding information from the public and said she was against suppressing information on the social networks, given that the platforms are eliminating what they deem to be disinformation but which she interprets as the platforms removing certain items to hide information about the vaccines.
Alisha, who said that she recovered from the coronavirus in March 2020, was carrying a sign on which one could read that “We’ve given the Education Department everything and now we’re left with nothing.”
Like Rachel, Alisha had accepted the New York education department authorities’ offer to anti-vax holdouts to be suspended without pay for a year, although their medical benefits would continue.
She told EFE that she doesn’t know what she’s going to do now, but she said that she definitely is not thinking about getting vaccinated so that she can return to teaching.
Like many of the demonstrators, Alisha said that the vaccination campaign has been undertaken without sufficient data, despite the fact that the US Food and Drug Administration has given its specific approval to the vaccines being administered in the US.
De Blasio said Monday that 95 percent of the nearly 150,000 school workers have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 99 percent of the principals, 96 percent of the teachers and 94 percent of the other workers in the education sector.
“These mandates work, we’re going to consider in the days ahead what else makes sense to do,” said De Blasio on Monday at a press conference.
Since the obligation to get vaccinated was announced on Aug. 23, the rate of vaccination among education workers has increased, according to authorities, who reported that 43,000 doses had been administered since then, 18,000 of them in just one week.
Last Monday, a similar mandate entered into force in the city’s healthcare system, which employs another 50,000 people and which was forced to hire auxiliary personnel to replace those who decided not to get immunized and thus were not allowed to work.
Amid patriotic and fiery rhetoric denouncing alleged discriminatory treatment, which some marchers compared with what Nazi Germany practiced against the Jews, Monday’s demonstration had as its final destination the Australian consulate in New York, where protesters complained about the measures imposed by authorities in Canberra against people who refuse to get vaccinated.