SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Protesters on the steps of the California State Capitol on Monday called for an end to COVID-19 vaccine mandates in schools.

The protest drew in activists from across the state. Hundreds gathered to relay their message loud and clear.

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“We are completely against any kind of COVID-19 vaccine mandate for children,” activist Joshua Cole said. “We don’t think it’s necessary. We think parents can make their own decisions for their children’s health.”

The rally was organized by the group Our Children, Our Choice.

“We don’t think I need a vaccine,” said fourth-grader Mayliah Rodriguez.

Rodriguez and her mom, Melinda, chartered a bus from Visalia.

The Williams family drove more than 400 miles from Riverside.

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“We left at 1:30 in the morning and said we have to be here,”

Some schools are already mandating vaccines. The State of California could implement the mandate as early as July 2022.

Hastings Law ProfessorJohn Myer says Gov. Gavin Newsom has the right to require vaccines.

“Parental rights are not absolute, even when based on religious beliefs,” Myer said. “The state can interfere with and override parental objections when a child’s health or safety is at risk.”

But activists like art teacher Alina Krohn of John Adams Academy say the goal is to get legislators to listen and press pause on any and all COVID vaccine mandates.

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“Won’t be going along with anyone’s mandate,” Krohn said. “They can’t force me to do anything, even if it means my job.”