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Virginians 'March Against Mandates' Sept. 02, 2020.Jim Hale / LifeSiteNews

PETITION: No to government and corporate penalties for refusing COVID-19 vaccine! Sign the petition here.

RICHMOND, Virginia, September 2, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Hundreds of freedom lovers came together in Virginia’s capital of Richmond earlier today to protest the mandates imposed by the government in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, specifically regarding vaccination. LifeSite’s Jim Hale was on site, interviewing speakers and participants at the “March Against Mandates.”

Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver, an unelected official, first said in August “that he plans to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for Virginians once one is made available to the public,” according to a report by a local ABC station.

Kathleen Medaries, Director of Communications and Strategy at Virginia Freedom Keepers, which organized today’s “March Against Mandates,” said that Oliver has the power to force Virginians to take the vaccine. 

“He’s appointed by the governor’s office. And under emergency powers law, he is given the right to mandate that every adult and child receive a COVID shot if he deems it appropriate,” she said. 

The law currently does not provide exemptions for those who do not want to take a vaccine mandated by the state government, and it does not allow even for a delay in getting the shot.

“We have a situation where this unelected official has unilateral authority to make a medical choice for all Virginians, and Virginians are gathered together to say: That’s a problem, we don’t approve.”

Medaries also pointed out the irony that the Virginia government, which in the context of abortion affirmed women who claimed, “my body, my choice,” now flips the script and says, “it’s your body, and it’s my choice.”

One of the speakers, Dr. Leland Stillman, a general physician, told LifeSiteNews that “it’s quite clear from the data” the COVID-19 “is not nearly as virulent or deadly as it was made out to be originally.”

He added that the people dying from the virus “are clearly people who are sick previously,” often “by their own choices: they ate poorly, they smoked, they didn’t exercise, they made choices.”

On the other hand, “the public at large who may work very hard and spend a lot of money keeping up their health, is being told that they’re going to be forced to vaccinate with a vaccine that, again, we don’t know the efficacy of, and we don’t know the side effects.”

He said an attitude like this “certainly violates the principle … that I was taught as a physician, which is primum non nocere, which means, ‘first, do no harm.’ So it’s just, this is all political theater, and it’s an agenda to get people vaccinated because it serves certain special interests.”

In the context of talking about “special interests,” Stillman encouraged people to “look at the National Vaccine Injury Compensation [Program]. I mean, it’s $4.4 billion, at least, of taxpayer dollars that have been paid out … to people who’ve suffered from privately held products. And the vaccine industry doesn’t have liability.”

“That’s unprecedented,” the young doctor continued. “Your builder’s liable if your house collapses on you. Your gun manufacturer is liable if your gun misfires. Your plumber is liable if they make a mistake and there’s a massive leak in your house, and your house floods, and you have to do hundreds of thousands of dollars in remediation.”

“But if your child is injured by a vaccine,” Stillman explained, “the vaccine manufacturers have no liability. That’s a recipe for corporate malfeasance. And, of course, the vaccine manufacturers, the pharmaceutical industry has been convicted many, many times of criminal activity. Are they ever sent to jail? No. They get fined. They get fined, and they get slapped on the wrist. And then they go back to business.”

Stillman said Americans “need to wake up to the fact that the mainstream media is not telling them the truth about their health. Because the reality is that the mainstream media works for the people who pay their salaries. And that’s the top advertisers.”

“And you can go through the list of the top advertisers on any mainstream media network, and you will see that they are producing things that either make you sick, or treat the sicknesses that you have. Why would anyone who’s got that agenda tell you how to be healthy?” he asked.

Joe Ordia, another of the speakers at the event, told LifeSite’s Jim Hale that he and his family had come to Richmond “to support medical freedom.”

“We’re very, very concerned that with the current state of fear and hysteria surrounding COVID-19, the government might feel that it’s necessary or proper to force a mandate, certain medical treatments that really aren’t fully tested and may not really be in our interest. So we’re here to stand up for our right for medical freedom.”

Ordia explained that he decided not to vaccinate his children. “I felt that there was just too much conflicting information out there. You’re going to hear from some people today that have personal testimony of themselves being personally injured or their children being vaccine-injured.”

“I just didn’t feel a compelling need that I had to vaccinate my kids at such an early age. And it may be something that we address as they get older. But as far as for now, we haven’t felt a compelling need to do so.”