SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — About 30 people gathered outside San Jose’s administration building Thursday to protest the latest restrictions being announced regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
While they brought a collection of various coronavirus grievances with them, the event was organized by an anti-vaccination group which has become increasingly vocal regarding COVID affairs.
So why would the anti-vaccination movement hinder efforts to achieve widespread COVID vaccination?
“Sarah Cody is not a fan of mine, and I’ve been following her tyrannical measures,” said Lindy Jordan as she held an American flag.
The San Jose rally — and several others around the state — were not just in opposition to pandemic lockdown policies. The gatherings were organized by a group called Freedom Angels, the same group of anti-vaccine activists that made headlines with raucous protests at the state capitol in 2019.
In 2020, the anti-vax movement has become one element of the larger COVID protest movement.
“I’m not even going to get the vaccine,” Jordan explained. “You could put a bullet in my head before you do that.”
“I’m not elderly, no conditions,” said another protester named Bob. “My risk/benefit analysis says that I’ll just get sick with COVID and it will be fine.”
“I don’t think we are ever going to persuade people who falsely believe that vaccines are evil and cause problems where there’s no evidence of it,” said Professor David Magnus, who teaches medical ethics at Stanford University.
Magnus is not too worried about vaccine skeptics hurting the effort towards widespread vaccination.
“I’m cautiously optimistic that most people are clamoring for this,” Magnus said. “They want to get back to their lives. They want to get back to normal.”
He thinks that desire — to move past the pandemic — will drive more than enough vaccine demand.
“I think we are as likely to have challenges with trying to cope with the fact that demand is likely to exceed supply for a long time,” Magnus said. “That’s what we’re going to be faced with, figuring out which populations are going to get prioritized and how are we actually going to implement that, to get the vaccine to as many people as possible.”