SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Upset about the City of San Diego’s mandate for all city employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a crowd gathered outside San Diego City Hall in the Civic Center Plaza for the “Protecting the Protectors” rally put on by ReOpen San Diego.
“Honestly, I don’t like the fact that it’s been shoved down our throat,” said Steve, whose is a city of San Diego firefighter.
ReOpen San Diego co-leader Amy Reichert said many of these police officers who are standing up and they are saying no have put in decades of work into the department of faithful service.
“I’ve had officers tell me that no one in SDPD has died or has been hospitalized due to COVID. They are just asking when it comes to this issue for it to be their own personal decision, and if we lose them, we are going to lose a lot,” Reichert said.
The crowd included spouses and parents of San Diego Police Department officers, firefighters and lifeguards speaking out against the city’s vaccine mandate.
“It’s just not right, what they are doing forcing these guys who have given their lives to make them choose between getting a vaccine that they don’t feel comfortable with and choosing a career,” said April, wife of a firefighter in El Cajon.
April’s children held up signs that said, “Please don’t fire my daddy” and “My daddy is a hero.”
One teenager wore a shirt that said, “No jab for my dad.”
Young violinists played "Amazing Grace" in front of nearly 200 pairs of firefighters and police officers' boots laid out to represent the loss of first responders if the city fires them for not getting the vaccine.
“I’m not here to torch Todd Gloria or the city of San Diego, I think they are doing the best that they can with their own construct, but I would appeal to them to step back for a second and think about the good of the public, rather than the good of the politics,” said El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, who said his city would never impose a vaccine mandate on employees.
Wells is the father of a paramedic. He and other parents of first responders say their loved one has already had COVID because they were exposed to it on the job, and they want city to consider their natural immunity instead of making them get the vaccine.
Steve, whose son is a San Diego firefighter who did not want to give his last name said, “It’s an awful idea, he has done 13 years with the fire department, and he loves his job, he loves helping people, I hope it doesn’t happen, I hope it does not come to pass. I don’t know how far he is willing to go with it and I don’t think he knows to tell you the truth.”
In response from the city of San Diego, Mayor Todd Gloria says in a statement:
“We continue to meet and confer with our recognized employee organizations on how to manage our unvaccinated employees. 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.”
The city’s vaccine mandate was pushed back from going into effect on November 1 to now December 1.
WATCH RELATED: Thousands demonstrate in California against school vaccine mandates | Rynor Report (October 2021)