Hundreds of demonstrators gather in downtown LA to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates
LOS ANGELES - Hundreds of Angelenos against COVID-19 vaccine mandates gathered at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles Monday.
The demonstration was organized by Firefighters4Freedom.
Those participating in the rally included local firefighters, law enforcement, parents, and community leaders who could lose their jobs if they are not fully vaccinated.
Los Angeles firefighter Scott Tomlin said he is prepared to lose his job "because I'm not prepared to lose my life over it."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says reports of death following a COVID-19 vaccine are extremely rare, and there is not an established causal link between the vast majority of those deaths and COVID-19 vaccines.
RELATED: LAFD Captain calls vaccine mandate 'tyranny,' prompting internal investigation
The demonstrators say they are not anti-vaccine but are against vaccine mandates.
"We shouldn’t be forced to take this vaccine," a protester told FOX 11’s Laura Diaz. She added that her husband and several of his coworkers are prepared to lose their job.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's Office released the following statement Monday:
"These rules are in place to keep Angelenos safe, and help us get the economy back to full strength as quickly as possible. We will begin enforcing them at the end of the month, and in the meantime, we are committed to working closely with local businesses, so that they have the information and resources they need to better protect their workers and customers."
For Los Angeles City employees, they could lose their jobs if they are not fully vaccinated by the Dec. 18 deadline.
Exemption requests are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis. People can qualify for an exemption if they have a medical condition or sincerely held religious beliefs, practices or observances that prevent them from receiving the vaccine.
NEW VACCINATION MANDATE TAKES EFFECT IN THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES
On Monday, a new mandate vaccine went into effect for many indoor establishments in Los Angeles that requires customers to show proof of being fully vaccinated.
RELATED: Proof of vaccination: Vaccine mandate begins at Los Angeles restaurants, gyms, personal care services
Patrons will not have to show proof of being fully vaccinated for entry at indoor restaurants, gyms, entertainment and recreational facilities, personal care establishments and some city buildings.
VACCINE MANDATE FOR LOS ANGELES CITY EMPLOYEES
The Los Angeles City Council voted in August to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all city employees. Exemption requests were due Sept. 7.
VACCINE MANDATE FOR LOS ANGELES COUNTY EMPLOYEES
In August, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors issued an executive order that requires more than 110, 000 county employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
RELATED: Los Angeles County issues executive order mandating county workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19
LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF ALEX VILLANUEVA SPEAKS OUT
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he will not enforce the COVID-19 mandate that went into effect Oct. 1 for all county employees. Villanueva, who is fully vaccinated, garnered national attention after he warned of a potential "mass exodus" of LASD deputies due to the mandate.
RELATED: Villanueva warns of 'mass exodus' of LASD deputies due to county's vaccine mandate
In early October, five LA County employees filed a lawsuit against their employer and accused the Southern California county, alleging that the executive order was unconstitutional.
RELATED: Five Los Angeles County employees sue over vaccine mandate, calling it 'unconstitutional'
Many workers who don't want the vaccines say it's an issue of personal freedom, with some expressing doubts about the vaccines' safety or efficacy. Mandate proponents say unvaccinated people can put others -- including those who aren't eligible for the vaccines -- in danger.
Get your top stories delivered daily! Sign up for FOX 11’s Fast 5 newsletter. And, get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.
City News Services contributed to this report.
Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest Southern California news.