'Medical freedom' rally in TD

Protestors at The Dalles post office stand with their signs. Many chose to conceal their faces behind their signs for fear of retribution or harassment, they said.

THE DALLES — Two protests for medical freedom were held at The Dalles post office on Wednesday, Aug. 25 and Friday, Aug. 27 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The call for medical freedom was in response to the enforcement of mask and vaccine mandates, both by the U.S. and state governments as well as private businesses.

One protestor, a local named Benjamin Warren, said the protest was to stand up for “bodily autonomy.”

“The problem is that mask mandates are coming down, vaccine mandates are coming down, the government is going to violate our bodily autonomy to force these things on us,” Warren said. “And we don’t get a decision, so we wanted to speak out against that.”

Erika, a protestor who chose not to give her last name, said the people protesting weren’t anti-vaccine, they were “pro-choice.”

“Everyone should have a choice for their own body to make that decision for themselves,” she said. “Everyone’s genetically different and it shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all-shot. We should never have anything forcibly injected into us, it’s a medical procedure.”

Warren agreed that the protest was not against vaccinations. Instead, he said, it was about the ability to choose whether to wear a mask or be vaccinated without government intervention.

“The thing is, I’ve had all my vaccinations, all the mandatory ones I had to get as a child,” he said. “And honestly, I think those were a good idea because it’s a cost-benefit analysis. All vaccines carry a certain element of risk. ”

Warren said he doesn’t believe COVID vaccines should be mandated because COVID-19 is “selective” on who it affects.

Warren said he had heard that some people get heart inflammation with the vaccine and that, as a physical laborer, he felt he didn’t want to risk that.

According to the CDC, as of June 23, 177 million people had gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. Of those people, around a thousand people had reported heart inflammation, meaning about 0.00056% of people who are either partially- or fully-vaccinated have experienced that symptom.

Both Erika and Warren also expressed concerns about social media sites, such as Facebook, allegedly “censoring” information about COVID-19 and preventing people from having conversations about the vaccines.

Erica said she also thought it was inappropriate to ask if someone was vaccinated or to show a vaccine card before allowing them to enter a store.

“You wouldn’t ask somebody if they had HIV or if they had an STD,” she said. “It’s very private information and vaccines are no different.”

Another protestor, named Jennifer, who also chose to withhold her last name, said she thinks the vaccine is unsafe and believed people were dying because of the vaccine, citing online sources.

COVID-19 has killed nearly 4.5 million people worldwide, according to worldometers.info, which pulls data from COVID-19 databases across the globe.