LIMA — The longer we go through the COVID-19 pandemic, the more some people become alienated with our own government.
They’re tired of being told to wear a mask, take the vaccine and social distance.
They long for a more normal life, in the middle of a pandemic that has killed 682,646 in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Lima’s Town Square on Saturday, a group of people promoting the freedom to choose whether or not to get the jab or wear a mask held a rally to draw attention to their beliefs.
The “Rally for Medical Freedom” was organized by a group calling itself the Lima Community for Medical Freedom. They have a private Facebook group with more than 4,700 members.
The organizer of the Lima rally, Jill Burd, has been a registered nurse at Lima Memorial Health System since May of 2005.
“It’s all about medical freedom and choice,” Burd said. “We’re in a country of free people, and we should have the freedom to choose a medical procedure or a medication. We shouldn’t be forced to do it. It is just wrong.”
Sean Ward, a physician/surgeon at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center, says the question of whether the vaccine works is not the point here.
“We find a lot of things are potentially wrong with the vaccine. But that’s not our primary goal. Our primary goal is not to say that a person should or should not take the vaccine. We have our very strong convictions and opinions,” Ward said.
Heather Davis is a registered nurse that works at a local facility.
“We want, No. 1, for people to know that there is a community. They’re not standing alone, that it’s OK to ask questions and to speak honestly and openly to community leaders, healthcare leaders, doctors, nurses. It’s OK for us to ask questions and not be shamed whether you decide to get the vaccine or not get the vaccine. That is a personal choice that you and your doctor should discuss,” Davis said.
Angie Bowman was at the rally to give her support to the cause. She’s had experience with the virus.
“I’ve already had COVID. I’m not afraid of it… I believe our freedoms are being taken away from us, and I’m willing to stand up for our freedoms,” Bowman said.
Bowman is upset over the lack of movement on House Bill 248, the Enact Vaccine Choice and Anti-Discrimination Act.
“From my understanding, it’s on hold right now. They’re going to rewrite it is my understanding. They did remove Jennifer Gross, who was the organizing person for that house bill from the committee, which I think is very sad because she’s the only one that had the medical background,” Bowman said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.