Updated October 4, 2021 - 7:50 am
A few hundred people gathered on the Strip on Sunday night to protest Gov. Steve Sisolak’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The group met outside of the Aria at 7 p.m. and marched north along Las Vegas Boulevard toward Bally’s, where they turned around. They stopped momentarily in front of the Fountains of Bellagio as the water crashed along to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.“
Many protesters held signs, some of which appeared to oppose the vaccine, while others focused their attention more specifically on the governor’s mandate. Brock Abbe, who moved to Las Vegas from New York in January, said he joined the group to protest the mandate, not the vaccine itself.
Last month, Sisolak ordered mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all Department of Corrections employees and those working with at-risk populations in state-operated detention and health care facilities.
Carrying a 4-foot, lime green plastic foam syringe labeled “EXPERIMENTAL,” Abbe said he did not think anyone’s job should be in jeopardy based on their vaccine status.
”I’m here because I’m pro-choice, which means I think you should be able to choose whether you get the experimental vaccine or not,” Abbe said. “Just like if you’re pregnant you have a choice, right?”
Abbe said he has had multiple friends die after getting the vaccine, and others have been let go from their jobs because they refused to get the vaccine.
“It’s just brutal,” he said. “As long as they’re able to work from home and away from other people, it just seems strange that they’re being forced to get the vaccine.“
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that reports of death after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine were “rare.” Among 390 million doses administered in the United States, the federal government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System received 8,164 reports of death, or .0021 percent, as of last week, according to the CDC.
While organizers chanted in front of the fountains, hundreds of the protesters lined up along Las Vegas Boulevard and waved their signs at passing cars, many of which honked while they drove by.
Another protester, Ken Newcomer, held a sign that read, “TREATMENTS NOT MANDATES.”
Newcomer said he did not think the vaccines were effective, and he planned to continue attending protests “as long as it takes.”
”The mandates don’t work, but treatments work,” he said, recommending Ivermectin, a drug the Food and Drug Administration recommended against using on COVID-19 patients. “Treatments save lives.“
By 8:15 p.m., the group marched into Planet Hollywood and continued into the Miracle Mile Shops.