By Sara Powers

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Hundreds of people gathered outside the Michigan State Capitol on Aug. 6 to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Carrying signs with slogans such as “Jab or Job? Wrong!” and “Let me call my shots,” the demonstrators heard speakers criticize government officials and urge their audience to contact elected representatives to express their opposition.

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“We’re here today to fight for individuals’ rights to choose — that’s all — in the employment area, in the student area, in the schools, in the universities . . . or wherever else it is mandated,” said Ron Armstrong, president for Stand Up Michigan, one of the organizers of the rally.

Nearly 59% of the state’s population over the age of 12 has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Friday data from the state health department. Michigan has reported 910,500 confirmed cases of the virus and 19,950 deaths.

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Universities requiring vaccinations include the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University. Hospital systems doing so include Beaumont Health, Spectrum Health, the Henry Ford Health System, Ascension Health, and Trinity Health.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has maintained the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The CDC also has said that people who have already recovered from COVID-19 should still get vaccinated.

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