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An LA Firefighters Lawsuit Claims Vaccine Mandates Are Medical Experimentation

A uniformed firefighter paramedic wearing a black face mask and purple latex gloves fills a syringe from a vial of COVID-19 vaccine to administer doses to members of the LAFD.
A firefighter paramedic at a fire station fills a syringe from a vial of COVID-19 vaccine to administer doses to members of the LAFD.
(Mario Tama
/
Getty Images)
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A lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 500 L.A. city firefighters says mandates requiring all city employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 violate California constitutional codes that prevent human experimentation.

The lawsuit, filed in L.A. Superior Court by a group calling itself Firefighters 4 Freedom, argues that because clinical trials and studies continue, the COVID-19 vaccine is an experimental medicine.

“Some people don't trust these vaccines,” said Kevin McBride, an attorney representing the firefighters’ group. “There are 20 outstanding clinical trial tests for the three major vaccines, none of which has been completed, none of which will be completed for the foreseeable future.”

McBride said firefighters have been putting themselves at risk since the start of the pandemic and have; “earned the right to have a say in whether they accept a vaccine or not.”

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The lawsuit questions the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and says forcing employees to take it amounts to medical experimentation, in violation of the state constitution.

While the state constitution does include codes preventing human experimentation, Michele Goodwin, who directs the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at UC Irvine, disagrees with categorizing an FDA-approved vaccine as a medical experiment under the law.

The laws on the books, she said, were written to prevent horrors like the medical experiments carried out by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust and to stop ethnic groups from being targeted as unwilling test subjects, as in the infamous “Tuskegee Study.”

“Lacerating into people, submerging them for hours in cold water, horrible things that it's important that we talk about,” Goodwin said, describing the basis of the laws. “That is not what this is with getting a vaccination. This is not the Tuskegee Experiments.”

Also, the definition of "experimental" from a medical standpoint is in question, with peer-reviewed studies completed on all three vaccines currently available in the U.S.

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McBride said his clients aren’t opposing coronavirus safety measures while on the job but want an alternative to vaccination.

“I believe some sort of testing as part of the middle ground, and definitely screening,” he said. “There are preventive things that can be done to keep the public safe including proper personal protective equipment, which they do.”

As ordered by the L.A. City Council, all city employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 1.

A recent lawsuit filed on behalf of LAPD employees also seeks an injunction against the city of L.A.’s vaccine mandate.

What questions do you have about vaccines?