San Diego

San Diegans Rally Against Looming Vaccine Mandates for City Employees

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NBC 7’s Amber Frias shares perspective from city employees and their families who are against the vaccine mandate.

Freedom, protection, no more mandates: A clear message from dozens of people rallying in front of San Diego City Hall.

"I'm here because I want to fight for our freedom,” said Jovanny Magadan. “I’m against the mandate.”

By Dec. 1, all city employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of their employment.

“I don't find it fair,” said Magadan. “I think that we have our choice to pick if we want to get vaccinated or not.”

The crowd included spouses and family members of San Diego police officers, firefighters and lifeguards. Many said it's not an anti-vaccine protest, it's about the freedom to choose their own medical treatment.

“I believe in vaccines, but I do not believe in people being forced into taking a vaccine,” said Marilynn Reichelt.

According to city data, the majority of San Diego city employees are already fully vaccinated. Only 22% of them are not.

Around 6% are police department employees and 1% are fire department staff.

“I’m really here to support my husband,” said Brenda Ruiz. “This is something we feel passionate about. It's your body, it's your choice.”

Ruiz's husband is a local police officer.

“What's going to happen to us?” said Ruiz. “Where does he stand? How are you a hero one day and the next day you’re pretty much disgraced?”

Despite the opposition, the city says they are moving forward with its mandate. In a statement Mayor Todd Gloria said the following: 

"The city has a responsibility to protect our employees and the members of the public with whom they regularly interact. The health and welfare of the public and our employees outweigh any temporary staffing issues. "

A firm notice to city employees to choose between a jab or their job.