Anti-vaccine protestors rally in Saranac Lake

Health care workers who refuse vaccine fear being fired on Sept. 27

Vashti McCormick, left, is an employee at Mercy Living Center, an Adirondack Health-operated nursing home in Tupper Lake. She participated in a rally in Saranac Lake on Wednesday against the state’s mandate that health care employees get the COVID-19 vaccine. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — People attending Wednesday’s anti-vaccine rally across from Adirondack Medical Center had different reasons for being there, but all were adamant that they don’t think the COVID-19 vaccine is effective or safe.

Some attendees were health care workers protesting the state’s mandate that they get the vaccine to keep their jobs, while others were there to oppose COVID-19 vaccines across the board.

Some shouted “freedom,” said they believe there are “toxic chemicals” in the shot and that it is a form of “control.” Others said they weren’t convinced the vaccine was safe and effective because people can still catch and spread the virus even if they are vaccinated.

People who are vaccinated usually experience less severe symptoms when they catch COVID than those who are not. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found, in a study released in August, that unvaccinated people are hospitalized with COVID-19 at a rate 29 times higher than those who are vaccinated.

“The only thing the vaccine does is mitigate the symptoms when you get it,” said Dulcie Marshall, a health care worker at the rally who may lose her job because she won’t get the vaccine. “I think it all depends on how healthy you are.”

Pat, left, and Karla, both of whom did not give their last names, hold signs at an anti-vaccine rally outside Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake on Wednesday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

Marshall was asked why she thinks public health professionals want people to get the shot.

“I don’t even want to speculate on that,” she said. “I think it’s a control issue.”

Some attendees came from Potsdam to join in and held signs that said “my body, my choice” or “jobs, not jabs.”

People in cars driving past on state Route 86 honked, waved or threw up their middle fingers.

It was downpouring out, and with the puddles of water collecting in the road, tractor trailers driving past splashed water on the crowd. Some of the protestors felt it might have been on purpose.

A crowd of around two to three dozen stood across the street from Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake in the pouring rain on Wednesday to protest the state’s mandate that health care employees get the COVID-19 vaccine. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

Lori Meyer, from Jay, said she believes the vaccine is more dangerous than the virus. When asked how many people have died from the vaccine, she said she didn’t know, but she was convinced the vaccine contains toxic chemicals, alters DNA and destroys the immune system.

However, mRNA from the vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, where DNA is stored, according the the CDC.

A woman named Pat, who did not provide her last name, said “thousands” have died within two weeks of getting the shot.

She believes news of deaths and side effects from the vaccine are being suppressed and undercounted. Several rally attendees put the figure at 42,000 deaths or higher. This figure comes from an unfounded lawsuit that an attorney filed on behalf of America’s Frontline Doctors, an anti-COVID-19 vaccine group. The lawsuit’s only evidence for this claim comes from an unnamed “whistleblower.”

A woman named Karla, who did not provide her last name, said she heard a woman in Bloomingdale can’t walk because of the vaccine. She didn’t know the woman’s name.

Several attendees said they believe the vaccine is still an “experiment” and believe it was developed too fast. Scientists have researched coronaviruses for decades. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the Pfizer vaccine official approval in August after months of it being approved for emergency use. The vaccine underwent the same testing process as other vaccines, but this one was accelerated because testing and manufacturing of the vaccine happened simultaneously.

“Doctor (Anthony) Fauci promised that people wouldn’t die if you got the shot,” rally co-organizer Diane Burman said.

In Aug. 2020, before any COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in the U.S., Fauci said the chances of the vaccine being highly effective were “not great.” He still promoted it, because it’s been shown to save the lives of people who do get seriously ill from the virus.

Some of the protestors said it’s not a vaccine because it is synthetic. Synthetic, mRNA vaccines are still vaccines, but they don’t contain the live virus.

In New York, some hospital administrators have asked the state to change its vaccine mandate for health care workers to allow unvaccinated people to keep working, but get tested regularly. But some nurses at the rally said they would not agree to this, either.

Christina Smith, who said she’s been a nurse for 25 years, believes there is ethylene oxide in the COVID swab test, which she believes will cause cancer. Ethylene oxide is a gas commonly used to sterilize around half of all medical equipment, including the nasal swabs. It is carcinogenic, but manufacturers aerate the swabs before packaging, removing the gas.

Though there may be trace amounts of the gas left on the swab, it is such a small amount that the 20 seconds of exposure during a test is viewed as negligible, according to the U.S. Department for Health and Social Care.

Some were concerned that if health care workers have to get vaccinated, they’ll be required to get it next.

“They’re going to mandate it so you won’t be able to go shopping … unless you show proof of vaccination,” Karla said. “Gee, isn’t that violation of HIPPA?”

Karla and Pat believed other states already require this. Some states allow businesses to require proof of vaccination to go to restaurants, bars and music venues, but these are not essential services, like grocery stores.

Nevertheless, Pat said she’s stocking up on food.


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