DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — More than 100 people gathered outside the Iowa state Capitol Saturday to rally against mandates requiring people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, such as the ones some Iowa hospitals have issued.
One of the speakers at the rally, Republican state Rep. Jeff Shipley, called vaccine mandates “a crime against humanity.” People in the crowd held signs that said “stop vax bullying” and “mandates belong in socialist countries.”
The event was organized by a group called Informed Choice Iowa that opposes mandatory coronavirus vaccinations and vaccine passports. Brei Johnson with that group told the Des Moines Register that she believes vaccinations should be discussed between a health professional and patient, not made a condition of employment.
“You can take off a mask but you can’t undo a vaccine. That’s a slippery slope to what comes next,” Johnson said.
Earlier this month, the owner of seven MercyOne hospitals and related clinics said all employees would be required to get vaccinated or risk termination. The hospitals and clinics are in Clinton, Dubuque, Dyersville, Mason City, New Hampton, Primghar and Sioux City.
The Iowa Department of Public Health said nearly 47% of Iowa residents have been fully vaccinated against the virus, which has killed 6,170 people across the state.