ST. CLOUD -- Hundreds of people gathered in Hester Park in St. Cloud Thursday in the shadow of St. Cloud Hospital for a Minnesota Medical Freedom Rally.

Most held signs or waived the American Flag voicing their support for their right to choose whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, a steady stream of vehicles drove by honking their horns in support.

One of the organizers of the rally Sam a nurse from the St. Cloud area. She says she and some co-workers attended a similar rally at St. John's in the Twin Cities recently and they decided they wanted to bring a similar event here to St. Cloud.

They formed a Facebook group which says escalated quickly with 16,000 members within 24 hours and now about 30,000.

She says it is time for the side of the story to be told for people who don't want to get the shot.

I hope people just start to remember why they live in this country.  I want the hospitals to realize why they are in the line of work that they are in and why they care for patients.  As a nurse I was taught to advocate for my patients and that includes informed consent in patient's rights.

Sam says as a nurse she's not able to coerce or judge and that patients need to seek their own information and make their own decisions.

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A candidate running for Minnesota Governor, medical doctor Neil Shah was expected to speak at the rally at 4:30 p.m.

CentraCare released the following statement to WJON news:

"We respect the rights of individuals to peacefully assemble and express their opinions in public settings. CentraCare continues to have discussions about vaccine requirements, guided by best practice, as we continue to navigate the ever-changing dynamic of the pandemic."

Thursday the state of Minnesota announced that over 70 percent of Minnesotans 16 years of age and older have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which leads all states in the Midwest.

Medical Freedom Rally