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SLO County residents join statewide protest against public school vaccine mandates

vaccine mandate protest.jpg
Rachel Showalter
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Parents, teachers and students protest statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students.

Parents, teachers and students across California participated in a school sit-out Monday to protest Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement that the state will require student vaccinations for COVID-19.

More than 150 people protested outside the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department.

vaccine mandate protest.jpg
Rachel Showalter
More than 150 people protested statewide public school vaccine mandates outside of the SLO County Public Health Department.

Jennifer Grinager helped organize the protest and is the local chapter chair of Moms for Liberty — a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. The group’s mission is to unify, educate and empower parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government.

“The main goal is to get the message to our schools and to our government that we will be having a large [number] of children disenroll from public school if they impose this vaccine mandate,” Grinager said.

She said she wants public school staff and students to have the choice to get vaccinated.

vaccine mandate protest.jpg
Rachel Showalter
Children join their parents to protest vaccine mandates in California public schools.

Grinager said she and other families are already putting plans into action for alternative education for their kids if vaccines are mandated for students.

Shauna Soltero is part of Moms for Liberty and joined the protest in San Luis Obispo. She lives in Templeton, has two sons and said she is willing to pull her kids from public school.

“I’m not anti-vax at all. My kids have their vaccines,” Soltero said. “I’m very pro-parent choice — taking the big government out of schools, giving the power back to the parents.”

Soltero’s son Gabriel is a senior at Templeton High School. He skipped school to attend the protest and said he thinks requiring vaccines isn’t fair.

“We should be able to choose and not be forced. It’s not anything about masks or vaccines or politics,” Gabriel said. “You shouldn't be forced to have a vaccine to go to school.”

California is the first state in the nation to announce COVID-19 student vaccine requirements. A number of vaccinations are already required for students attending public school, including measles, mumps and rubella.

The requirement is expected to apply to grades 7-12 starting July 1, 2022.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19.

For more information about where to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in San Luis Obispo County, visit readyslo.org.

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