Protesters rally at Pa. Capitol to oppose state and federal vaccine mandates

Pennsylvania Politics

PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Most people have gotten their COVID-19 vaccines — most, but not all, according to state numbers. There is increasing pressure on the unvaccinated to get the shot, but a state lawmaker called that un-American and wants to prohibit employers from firing or disciplining those who opt out.

Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), who represents Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, and York counties, has proposed a bill that would prohibit the state and employers from forcing workers to get vaccinated. Protesters rallied at the state Capitol on Tuesday in support of Mastriano’s bill and in opposition to both existing and potential state and federal vaccine mandates.

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“That I have to move legislation for medical freedom is just disgusting to me. It should be a given that you have this choice,” Mastriano said.

“It’s just tyranny in another form, isn’t it? It’s a sad day that we have to stand here and fight for our medical freedom in America,” Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R-Clinton/Center) said.

Husband and wife airline pilots with six kids spoke at the rally. They were put on unpaid leave for not getting vaccinated, and they are suing. “We have to be given reasonable accommodation, and that’s all we’re asking for,” they said.

There is also concern that healthcare workers and emergency personnel will quit if forced to get the vaccine.

“When you call 911 and nobody answers the phone, what are you going to do?” Rep. Dawn Keefer (R-York/Cumberland) said.

State Rep. Mary Isaacson, a Democrat from Philadelphia, says the health of Pennsylvanians should be job one for lawmakers.

“We have vaccines so that we can make sure we have a safe society. And for those that don’t want to get vaccinated, you can stay on your own property, you shouldn’t be out in society spreading diseases,” Isaacson said.

But Mastriano says it should be up to individuals, not lawmakers. “It’s not about the vaccine, it’s about your choice. Informed consent or informed refusal, it’s as simple as that,” Mastriano said.

In a statement, the governor’s office reiterated that the state has a vaccine or test policy and a vaccine incentive program, but not a vaccine mandate. It called Mastriano’s bill meaningless and ideology-driven.

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