A number of major U.S. cities including D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis and Boston have implemented citywide rules requiring residents to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination at certain establishments, such as restaurants and gyms.
“You’re going to hear a lot of people talk about on the left say this is a big, anti-vax rally — it’s people coming in to deny science,” march organizer Will Witt, an author and political commentator for nonprofit PragerU, told Fox News Digital, “but this march is about the mandate, and this march is about the Draconian measures that we’re seeing all across this country right now, especially in places like D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco.”
Critics of the regulations say those cities may have jumped the gun on mandating vaccines as the omicron variant of COVID-19 has proven its ability to evade immunity offered by vaccines and that such requirements are a power play from politicians. While the vaccine prevents severe reactions to the virus — particularly in the elderly and those with underlying conditions — U.S. cases have spiked to record highs in recent weeks as the virus infects both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Witt said 90% of speakers at the march are vaccinated. Several high-profile speakers, however, have been at the center of national debate over COVID-19 vaccines and mandates, including Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Peter McCollough, YouTuber JP Spears, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who recently said giving children “one of these vaccines” is “criminal medical malpractice” at a December event in California, according to The Associated Press.
Kennedy’s nonprofit organization, Children’s Health Defense — which has received some criticism for its newsletters and social media posts questioning the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in children — is sponsoring Sunday’s march. The organization doubled its revenue in 2020 to $ 6.8 million, filings with charity regulators obtained by AP show.
Witt, however, says the point of the rally is not to question vaccines but “to fight back against the mandates,” which are “all for political power and gain.”
“What we are seeing here is politicians getting power-hungry and saying, ‘We want to control people. We want to dictate how they are able to live their lives.’ And instead of looking at the science for what is actually really going on, this is how they act,” he said. “And so then you get people who don’t want to give up their power and jump the gun on all of these mandates and restrictions.”
Witt added how the mandates are a “slippery slope” to more severe restrictions and pointed to Austria, where lawmakers are poised to require all residents to get the vaccine or receive fines of up to 3,600 Euros ($ 4,085) per quarter, according to Reuters.
When COVID-19 first came to the U.S., Witt said it was “understandable why politicians” want to lock down cities, but after two years into the pandemic, people are starting to get fed up with restrictions when catching the virus seems almost unavoidable.