After social media rumblings about California parents having their kids walk out and skip school in protest of recent COVID-19 vaccine orders,  the demonstration ultimately took place, Monday.

While the origins of the protest are unclear, flyers began to circulate social media last week, hitting multiple community-based groups and organizations.

One of those organizations was “Moms on the Ground,” with a following of more than 20,000 people, sharing a common feeling that their children should not be ordered to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We picked it up very quickly, from day one,” Attorney and co-founder of Moms on the Ground, Parisa Fishback, told L.A. Weekly. “We supported it, we promoted it… all week we had been contacted by people all over the state, from San Diego to Sacramento.”

Fishback said that Moms on the Ground was created just days after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the universal student vaccination order on October 1.

In less than a month, the account received thousands of emails from parents concerned about the state order. She added that their group is not anti-vaccination, it is specifically against the government ordering the COVID-19 vaccine for children in schools.

“This is something that’s getting worldwide attention because everybody is aware of the fact that what happens in California can be indicative of what happens in the rest of the country, so all eyes are on us so to speak,” Fishback added. “What ended up happening today is you had, I’m going to guess, hundreds of thousands of people throughout the state who participated in the sit-out.”

It may be unclear how many people participated in the protests, but crowds of parents, teachers, staff and students could be spotted in different counties, from Sacramento, to Orange and even Los Angeles.

Thousands also made their way to the State Capitol holding signs and chanting against the vaccine orders.


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Another driving force behind Monday’s protest was former gubernatorial candidate Major Williams, who’s posts about the walkout were also widely shared.

“I have continued to express my disdain about how these mandates are being pushed upon everyone over the last year-plus,” Williams told L.A. Weekly. “Mandatory vaccination of Covid-19 for K-12 once it is approved by the FDA, is against the constitution and HIPPA laws in place that protects citizens in our country. It is being overlooked completely. I fully support today’s school walkout because in all causes you must begin with the initial step towards fighting back against anything unjust. Today was that day for millions of parents and students. Our parents statewide are saying enough is enough.”

Running against Newsom in the recall election, Williams had been critical of the governor’s vaccine orders.

“This isn’t about being an anti-vaccination activist, this is about medical freedom and having a choice to inject a very undertested drug into our kids without knowing the true side effects or repercussions,” Williams added.

Newsom likened the vaccine order to vaccination requirements that already in place for California students.

“The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19. Today’s measure, just like our first-in-the-nation school masking and staff vaccination requirements, is about protecting our children and school staff, and keeping them in the classroom,” Newsom said on October 1. “Vaccines work. It’s why California leads the country in preventing school closures and has the lowest case rates. We encourage other states to follow our lead to keep our kids safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”


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Even with the order in place, current FDA approvals only apply to the Pfizer-made vaccine and for Californians aged 16 and older. While Pfizer has also received emergency authorization for children 12 to 15, the order will not apply to that age group until the FDA grants it full approval.

In the CDC’s latest COVID-19 update, the country’s community transmission remained high, although California was listed as the only state “moderate” transmission, with 34 positive cases per 100,000 people. The next lowest was Hawaii, with 59 positive cases per 100,000 people.

In comparison, Idaho had the highest level of community transmission with 476 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.

In order for California to reach the CDC’s designation of “low” transmission, it would have to average less than 10 positive cases per 100,000 people.

California is also averaging the lowest death rate due to COVID-19, with 0.2 deaths per 100,000 people.

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