State of the State draws protest against mandated COVID vaccines

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WNYT/WHEC) — Protesters demonstrated against mandates for COVID-19 vaccines outside the New York State Capitol in Albany while Gov. Kathy Hochul gave her first State of the State Address Wednesday.

The New York State Freedom of Choice Rally drew demonstrators against mandatory vaccinations and mask-wearing on the same day that the Capitol Building added new restrictions. All visitors must now show proof of being fully vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19.

Carl James of Schoharie said he just wants to retain his freedom of choice.

"The Capitol, this protest means a lot to me," James said. "I see a country that’s being totally divided and people are being forced to do things that they really don’t want to do. It seems that my personal freedom is at stake and I just want to make a stand with other people saying that hey, I want to live free in this world and I think I should be making informed choices on what’s going on."