Protest of mask, vaccine mandates draws crowd to Vegas Strip

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A weekend protest of coronavirus vaccine and mask mandates drew several hundred people to the Las Vegas Strip, where marchers with signs and T-shirts declaring "freedom of choice" wound along sidewalks and into some resorts.

Las Vegas police on Monday did not immediately report any citations, arrests, damage or injuries during the Sunday evening demonstration against Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak's COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates.

Brock Abbe, who moved to Las Vegas from New York in January, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal  he didn't think anyone should lose their job based on their vaccine status.

Sisolak last month ordered mandatory vaccinations for state employees including those working with at-risk populations in state-operated detention and health care facilities.

Employees at all Nevada public universities and colleges are required to get COVID-19 vaccinations by Dec. 1 or face dismissal under a new policy adopted by the state System of Higher Education.

The U.S. Food and Drug Admin­istration has given full approval to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, opening the way for universities, companies and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory.

Moderna has also applied to the FDA for full approval of its vaccine. Johnson & Johnson, maker of the third option in the U.S., said it hopes to do so later this year.

Drugmaker Merck on Friday it has developed an experimental pill that reduces hospitalizations and deaths of people who contract COVID-19.

Review-Journal photos showed peaceful demonstrators on sidewalks, in the Bellagio resort and at the Miracle Mile Shops retail mall at Planet Hollywood.