By CBSLA Staff

WHITTIER (CBSLA) — Parents in Whittier joined a statewide protest Monday against the proposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all schoolchildren.

(credit: CBS)

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The rally at Parnell Park was one of many that took place Monday across the state as part of a coordinated “school sit-out.” It was organized by critics who say the COVID vaccine has not undergone enough testing to make parents feel safe about giving it to their children.

Parents at the rally carried signs that said, “My Body, My Choice,” “Freedom Not Force,” and “I Am Mama Hear Me Roar.”

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Organizer Monique Holguin says the group believes parents should have the right to choose.

“We are not anti-vax, we are anti-mandate with the loss of choice. Because you can’t mandate something that is gonna require multiple boosters like the flu shot, and with the variant changes, are not going to be continuously effective,” she said.

California was the first state to mandate vaccination against COVID-19 for all schoolchildren who were eligible, in order to continue in-person learning. With the Pfizer vaccine now approved for emergency use for children ages 5 to 11, the mandate would cover all students from elementary through high school, in public or private schools.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom said he expects the mandate to go into effect by January.