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More than a hundred join rally in Annapolis to protest USM’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate

Posted at 10:14 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 11:54:15-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — More than a hundred people gathered outside at the Lawyers Mall in Annapolis to rally against the University System of Maryland’s decision to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for students.

“You know what’s necessary? It’s necessary that we fight,” said Taylor, who is a Morgan State University student, which is not one of the 12 institutions in the University System of Maryland.

Taylor was one of the several speakers who expressed concerns about requiring a vaccine on students that’s yet to receive full federal approval. Currently, the vaccines are being distributed under the FDA’s emergency use authorization.

“When I first heard about this, I questioned myself. I said is this the right thing for me? If it’s not the right thing for me, I don’t think it’s the right thing for you,” he said.

Many of the people who attended the rally weren’t questioning the safety of the vaccine. Their concerns stem from forcing students to choose between their personal beliefs about the vaccine and their education.

“We are proud about how far our state has come to ensure that our citizens who wish to get this vaccine are able to do so. but for those in the crowd who want to wait until the clinical trials are completed in December 2022, we want their rights protected too,” said Megan Montgomery, who is the chairwoman of the Love Maryland PAC.

The USM announced the decision to mandate the vaccine last month, while still allowing for medical and religious exemptions.

The decision came after colleges across the state battled to contain the virus during outbreaks across campus.

‘If the Chancellor of the University of Maryland continues down this road of mandating this vaccine that is not full FDA approval, we are going to take that to the courts and we are going to demand that our courts guarantee our constitutional right.”

In a statement to WMAR-2 News the University System of Maryland (USM) says "it respects and appreciates the right of all citizens to assemble and be heard on important issues in the state. The USM made its recent decision regarding mandatory vaccinations for the upcoming Fall 2021 academic semester with the advice of experts in public health, infectious disease, and emergency management. Given the population density and multiple interactions of the learning process for those on our campuses, Chancellor Perman and system presidents believe mandating COVID-19 vaccination is a necessary step for a safe return to campus—of course, with exceptions granted for all medical and religious reasons under state and federal law."