PHOTOS: Who Are Maui’s Unvaccinated and Why They Choose Not to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
August 25, 2021, 4:52 PM HST
* Updated August 25, 5:25 PM
In the past few weeks, multiple demonstrations took place around Maui County expressing their freedom of choice as COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates gain traction across the country. At the same time, reports of hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases are also surging.
At one of these rallies, we asked a group of eight unvaccinated individuals why they choose not to take the vaccine.
Judy Levy, who has been a teacher for 52 years stepped away from teaching saying that “teaching for seven hours in a mask is detrimental to education.”
“I must make sure I am fighting for the same freedoms for my grandchildren…I am healthy, I am staying healthy and I want my grandchildren to have a free America to grow up in,” said Levy.
In an interview with Maui Now, she told the story of her grandparents who immigrated from Hungary on a ship to the United States so that they could have a better life – and for their children and grandchildren.
Sanoe Delima and Kea Kuʻia were seen protesting together on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 with signs in pink that read “My Body, My Choice” and “The Future is Keiki.”
“There’s not enough research on it and I don’t feel like being an experiment,” said Delima.
Kuʻia said that she attended the protest because she has a three-month-old daughter and she is doing it for her.
“I choose not to get vaccinated because there’s just a lot of stuff that goes into vaccinations and I am a healthy being,” said Kuʻia.
Nainoa Silva who is a student protesting mandatory vaccinations to play sports said that his parents told him to wait a few years to see how the vaccination affects people over the long run.
“It is not FDA approved and my parents are telling me to wait it out and once they see that it is good for you, then I will take it,” said Silva.
Bennett DeBeer who attended the rally in front of the state building in Wailuku conveyed that all they want is for Mayor Victorino to hold a town hall and answer some questions from the community.
“I myself have chosen not to get vaccinated. I am a healthy 50-year-old person and I am doing all the things that I have always been doing my whole life to stay healthy. I have nothing against the vaccine. I, myself am making a personal choice,” said DeBeer.
DeBeer said that maybe in a year or two that he might consider taking the COVID-19 vaccine but finds it too soon to have the vaccination.
Andrea Schelin and Christie Madariaga were protesting mandatory vaccinations, indicating that everyone should have the freedom of choice.
“I do not believe that it is safe yet,” said Schelin.
“We do not have enough evidence or it has not been researched long enough…and because I just choose not to and because it is my body,” said Madariaga.
Former county worker Derek Wilson said that it is not fair for anyone to be forced vaccination.
“I know that a vaccination that makes a difference takes years of testing, not months of testing,” said Wilson.
Meantime, officials with the state Department of Health continue to advocate for vaccinations saying it continues to help in preventing severe illness and death. Since these interviews were conducted, the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
Meantime, Hawaiʻi had 414 people hospitalized with COVID-19 today, (384 of them are unvaccinated and 53 are vaccinated).