SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The City of San Jose will begin to enforce a stricter vaccine mandate for all city employees starting on October 1.
At this time, hundreds of fire fighters and police officers remain unvaccinated and some worry that could lead to major safety issues.
Others say a mandate is not the right move for the city.
"What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now!" cheered the crowds Friday in San Jose.
Chants for freedom, choice and no more mandates -- The message was clear from the dozens of people rallying in front of San Jose City Hall.
"The problem is that they don't give you a choice," one man said. "So, we have to come out here and yell and scream to try and get some of our rights back. Our rights have been taken away."
"It sucks for everyone that we don't have a choice and we're going to be terminated because of what the government wants to do to our body," San Jose resident Monica Fevre said.
San Jose fire fighters and police officers are part of the mandate.
The San Jose Police Officers' Association told ABC7, "We are in ongoing negotiations with the City over the potential catastrophic impacts to the safety of San Jose residents if there is a mass exodus of sworn officers."
They say most city workers can be hired off the street but it takes up to two years to train police officers.
The San Jose Fire Fighters union, SJFD and SJPD declined to comment on the story.
87% of the entire SJPD is vaccinated, or in the process of getting vaccinated, according to the department.
91% of fire fighters and all other city employees submitted their proof of vaccination, according to the City of San Jose.
Despite the opposition, the city says they are moving forward with their mandate.
"It's important to note that the reason we are doing this is to keep our workforce and our community safe from COVID," City of San Jose Director of Communications Carolina Camarena said. "It's essential that we be able to provide services to our community without having an outbreak."
San Jose will use a staggered disciplinary system starting October 1 so they won't lose of too many employees at once.
Dozens protest new San Jose vaccine mandate for city employees starting Oct. 1
The city says it will use a staggered disciplinary system starting Oct. 1, so they won't lose of too many employees at once.
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