ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A protest in St. Augustine against vaccine mandates.
Some of those outside the Northrop Grumman building Thursday were employees, others were just against requiring the COVID-19 vaccine.
The protest was held on the same day Gov. Ron DeSantis strengthed his stance against federal vaccine mandates.
Flying the American flag, workers with Northrop Grumman in St. Augustine protested vaccine mandates for employees along U.S. 1.
“We’re not here against the vaccine, we’re not here against our jobs, we love our jobs, we’re just here strictly for freedom. The government is crossing the line,” one demonstrator said.
“A lot of us are service members and we’re just, ya know, keeping up with what we fought for while we were in the military and that’s our freedom to choose, our freedom to speak, our freedom to peacefully assemble,” said Jeremy Irizarry, Northrop Grumman aircraft mechanic.
Irizarry isn’t vaccinated and says it’s his choice, not the government.
“And I believe this virus has been extremely politicized and I believe it’s no longer about public health,” he added.
Earlier in the day, there was applause in Clearwater as DeSantis told a crowd he wants a state law blocking the federal government from implementing President Joe Biden’s mandate requiring companies with more than 100 workers to make its employees get vaccinated or tested regularly.
DeSantis called for a special session of the Florida legislature to address the issue.
“We wanna make it clear, that in Florida, your right to earn a living is not contingent upon whatever choices you’re making in terms of these injections. And I think that’s going to go a long way in letting people know that we’ve got your back,” DeSantis said.
No word yet on a date for the special session of the legislature.
News4Jax asked the Northrop Grumman company if employees must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8.
A spokesperson would only tell us this:
“The vaccine mandate is a requirement from the federal government, and as a federal contractor, Northrop Grumman is required to comply. We remain committed to continuous operations to deliver for our customers.”