HUMBOLDT — “My body, my choice,” “freedom to choose,” “no mandates,” and “no v-pass love all” were among the signs held by protesters opposed to COVID-19 health measures at Humboldt’s Civic Park.
“For me it’s just about choice. I don’t think anyone should be coerced or pressured to do something to their body they don’t want to be done whether that’s abortion or anything with their body,” said one Humboldt resident who wished to remain anonymous.
Another local protestor who attended the Oct. 1 rally said that for him the issue is asking for vaccination proof as an alternative to regular COVID-19 testing.
As of Oct. 1, proof of two COVID-19 vaccination shots or a negative test result is required within the province for public access to a range of businesses, event venues, as well as for all Government of Saskatchewan ministry, crown and agency employees.
“If you have vaccine passports we don’t know where that’s going to lead, that’s a slippery slope. In theory, they could say you’re not vaccinated if you haven’t had your fourth booster shot,” the protestor told the Journal. “It’s kind of like taxes, you can’t reclaim a tax back.”
The province has begun offering vaccination boosters to eligible populations due to evidence indicating that there are factors that may contribute to the waning of effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, including the age of the recipients and if the individual is immunocompromised due to a medical condition or medication.
Those eligible to receive booster immunizations in the first phase, which began Sept. 7 include residents of long-term care and personal care homes; transplant recipients; recipients of stable, active treatment for malignant hematologic disorders; and recipients of an anti-CD20 agent.
Another protestor, who brought her children to the event, said that she was afraid of people losing their jobs if they don’t receive a COVID-19 vaccine after hearing stories from people who claimed their employer was considering just that.
“I feel like people should have a choice to either be vaccinated or not vaccinated, so that’s why I’m here,” she said.
She added that her ideal situation would be one where proof of vaccine or testing isn’t required in employment.
“I think freedom of choice is important just for our community, our province, our country.”
During the event, organizers gained signatures for a petition to Humboldt city council requesting council “not to discriminate the citizens based on private medical information.”
Humboldt council’s influence over medical collection is limited. Requirements of a negative COVID-19 test or vaccine proof for public access to a range of businesses and event venues is decided on a provincial level. Humboldt council has authority over city employees and a level of authority over city facilities, but must remain within provincial regulations.
Rally organizers would not grant an interview with the Journal but confirmed some organizers were from the Humboldt area. They did issue a statement via email.
“We were at city hall today in support of a Saskatchewan-wide coalition. We are here to unify all groups at a grassroot level under one umbrella, with the common goal of building unity within our communities,” they wrote.
“We stand together to protect the values that made this nation so great and work on stopping the division, hate, discrimination and coercion happening all around us.”
Jessica R. Durling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Humboldt Journal