Students, activists, allies, and bystanders mourned the more than 220,000 lost to COVID-19, marched outside the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and moved to the gogo beat down Constitution bringing attention to pertinent issues surrounding the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine.
This percussion-heavy, colorful, and vibrant protest Wednesday afternoon on October 21 was many things--a NOLA-inspired funeral procession, funeral service with speeches outside of HHS, and rally, which preceded the FDA hearing on the safety, authorization, and licensure of the coronavirus vaccine. Along the route, the colorful rally gained new supporters as the music brought out curious bystanders who heard the chants and saw the clever posters.
“The Funk Rally for a Peoples' Vaccine brought the community, students, doctors, science, and culture together. We all demand a vaccine and treatment for COVID 19 that is scientifically proven, safe, and accessible to all - all means all,” said LaDon Love, Executive Director, SPACEs In Action.
Since March, the coronavirus has infected nearly nine million Americans and claimed the lives of close to 230,000 domestically. Doctors and scientists fear that those numbers will jump as we enter the second phase along with the onset of the flu season and meteorologists' predictions of a harsh winter in some parts of the country. The contentious political season and the disregard for safety protocols from top health and science organizations have complicated COVID-19 response and containment.
“The public has already paid for the vaccine with our tax-payer dollars, we shouldn’t have to pay again. If we are to curb the pandemic as quickly as possible the vaccine must not only be safe and effective for all, it must be available for everyone worldwide and for free at the point of delivery,” said Merith Basey, Executive Director, North America of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM).
The funk rally is one of many actions to come as universities and pharmaceutical corporations continue their research and drug trials in combating and containing the coronavirus using taxpayers dollars.