ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Groups rallied in Lawyers Mall protesting against a recent vaccine mandate for University System of Maryland students, faculty and staff on Wednesday.

“We should disobey. Disobedience is what challenges the mandates,” said Simon Molina, UMD student.  “If you’re gonna wear a mask, wear a mask. If you’re going to take a vaccine, take a vaccine. But, you should never mandate a recommendation.”

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The University System of Maryland announced a requirement last month:  “All eligible students, faculty, and staff who will be on our Maryland campuses this fall be vaccinated against COVID.”

In a letter, USM Chancellor Jay Perman cited data “That the risk of vaccines is very low, whereas the risk of COVID is very high.”

“Nobody’s stopping you. Get the COVID vaccine, but it’s not something that should be required,” Attorney Jennifer Lester said Wednesday. “Under Emergency Use Authorization, a vaccine can not be mandated for individuals.”

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Lester told the crowd of hundreds she was preparing a legal fight. USM said exemptions will be granted, by law, for medical or religious reasons.

“I’m not going to compromise my civil rights, my liberties just to make other people feel comfortable,” said Chaida Bango Bango, a UMD student.

The vaccines are proven to be safe and effective in protecting people from getting sick or severely ill and can reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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For more information about the vaccines, click here. 

Paul Gessler