Attorneys representing nearly 1,200 members from Hawaii's first responders' unions announced Thursday they were suing the state over its COVID-19 vaccination mandates, which they say violates their constitutional rights.
"They're just asking for the chance to choose," said attorney Shawn Luiz, according to KHON 2. "It's a personal, autonomous, healthcare decision, and everyone should make their own choice, whether or not they want to take a vaccine or not."
Capt. Kaimi Pelekai of the Honolulu Fire Department said in an impassioned statement, "I have to choose between that career that I'm committed to or put in an experimental drug that I don't know what it's gonna do to me in my body, or I got to give all that up."
Pelekai mentions how first responders received a letter detailing that they either get vaccinated, submit to weekly testing, or risk losing their job.
The lawyers are criticizing the decision made by Gov. David Ige as well as all four county mayors for not developing a unified statewide plan while also claiming that the unions were not given the chance to collectively bargain before the governor's order was issued.
Luiz touted in a video conference that such mandates violated several of the workers' constitutional rights, such as the "the First, the Fourth, the Fifth, [and] the Fourteenth Amendment."
"If we're not there, it's because of them," Pelekai said in a weeping remark. "It's because of the mayor. It's because of the governor. We want to be there! We signed up for this! This is what we want to do for the rest of our lives! We want to run in. We want to stop the bullet. We want to swim into the 40-foot waves to save your lives! That's what we want. That's what we wanted to be. And if we're not there on the 16th, you can call Mayor Blangiardi and thank him."
But according to a spokesman from the state's attorney general, "the State is confident that its vaccine and testing policy is lawful and constitutional."
Although there are several free testing sites, workers who cannot get there could have to pay as much as $150 for a test "twice" per week, said attorney Michael J. Green.
Green adds that when you look at influenza, "when they found 53 deaths as a result of the vaccine, they suspended the vaccine. We can show 45,000 deaths, in 72 hours from this [COVID-19] vaccine. You have companies making a billion-plus a month. The pressure they put on the FDA to endorse these vaccines is unbelievable. I think they'd rather pay people for the deaths of their family members, then stop making a billion dollars a month."
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