More than 75 people came to the Connecticut state Capitol Wednesday to testify against vaccine mandates by both the government and employers. Many claimed it was discrimination.
“If you want the vaccine I’m all for it, I support you 100%. I personally I’m not going to get into semantics. I’m not going to be tested weekly. I’m healthy,” Tyra Scarpelino of East Haven said.
Many who showed up to testify were not going to get a Covid-19 vaccine no matter what.
“I made it through round one of Covid when they didn’t care whether we had clean masks or dirty masks. N95s or no N95s. We were left to fend for ourselves. So now I'm going to make my own personal health decision and I left the hospital I was at 10 years,” Scarpelino said.
Those who testified were nurses, teachers and school bus drivers.
“I am hearing from really concerned individuals who are concerned about their livelihood,” Rep. Tim Ackert, R-Coventry, said.
Ackert is one of 13 Republicans who scheduled the hearing.
“Look at Connecticut's job market right now. How many businesses are looking for workers?” Ackert asked.
“A mandate comes down like this. What is it going to do to our workforce? What is it going to do to our economy?” Ackert said.
The Connecticut Business and Industry Association said vaccination is the only way to get the economy going again.
“If we really want to get this economy going we have to get more people vaccinated,” Eric Gjede, vice president of government affairs for CBIA, said.
It’s still unclear if someone who loses their job because they refuse the vaccine would be able to collect unemployment.
“The vaccine is the simplest way to get everything back to normal, which I think regardless of how you feel about the vaccine. I know everyone really wants that at the end of the day,” Gjede said.
“It’s a coercion tactic that’s being used,” Amy Bourdon of Cheshire said.
“I just think it’s highly unfair that people who have the vaccine or don’t can both spread the virus the same so why are all these people being discriminated against,” Kate Kramer says.
Republican lawmakers said they want to be able to have this discussion more broadly.
“They could lose their retirement at the level they thought they would be comfortable with. And it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating that this hasn't been discussed in a full legislative process,” Ackert said.