Gloria Oladipo in New YorkThu, 6 January 2022, 7:22 pm
Kelly Ernby, who recently ran for the state assembly, was unvaccinated at the time of her death, husband says
A deputy district attorney from California who regularly spoke out against vaccine mandates has died of complications from Covid-19.
Kelly Ernby, 46, a prosecutor from Orange county, southern California, who recently ran for the state assembly, died after contracting the virus, her family and friends have said.
According to Ernby’s husband, Axel Mattias Ernby, Kelly Ernby was unvaccinated at the time of her death.
“She was NOT vaccinated. That’s the problem,” Axel Ernby said on social media posts.
A month before her death, Kelly Ernby spoke out against vaccine mandates at a rally outside Irvine city hall. The protest was organized by chapters of Turning Point USA, a conservative youth organization, representing members at California State University, Fullerton and University of California Irvine.
“There’s nothing that matters more than our freedoms right now,” Ernby said, according to the Daily Titan, a student newspaper.
On her personal Facebook, Ernby also spoke out against Covid vaccine mandates, writing in August that “thevaccine is not the cure to Covid, and mandates won’t work”.
Before the pandemic, Ernby also denounced vaccine mandates. At an online town hall in 2019, Ernby said she opposed a new state law that would tighten vaccine rules for California school children.
“My fundamental belief is that government should be very small and I don’t believe in mandates,” said Ernby then.
“I don’t think that the government should be involved in mandating what vaccines people are taking,” she said. “I think that’s a decision between doctors and their patients … If the government is going to mandate vaccines, what else are they going to mandate?”
News of Ernby’s death has gained widespread attention online, underscoring tensions between those who oppose vaccine mandates as a form of government overreach and others who see it as critical protection against Covid and the way to end the pandemic.
Among the posted condolences to Ernby’s friends and families, some online commenters blamed Ernby for her own death and posted replies about Ernby’s anti vaccine-mandate stance.
Ernby lived in Huntington Beach, California, an hour outside of Los Angeles, where a number of anti vaccine-mandate rallies have taken place.
She had worked in the district attorney’s office since 2011 and specialized in environmental and consumer law, according to a statement posted by Orangecounty district attorney Todd Spitzer.
“Kelly was an incredibly vibrant and passionate attorney who cared deeply about the work that we do as prosecutors – and deeply about the community we all fight so hard to protect,” said Spitzer in the statement following Ernby’s death.
In 2019, Ernby ran for the California state assembly and lost in the 2020 primary to fellow Republican politician Diane Dixon.
Ernby later was elected as an Orange county GOP central committee member in 2020 but died halfway through her four-year term.
Vaccine mandates have continued to receive pushback, despite soaring cases of the Omicron variant.
The Mayo Clinic, the non-profit medical center, fired about 700 out of 70,000 employees who refused to comply with the mandatory vaccination policy, reported NBC news.
Employees were told to receive their first dose of the vaccine by Monday or get a medical or religious exemption. Staff who had already received their first jab were told to not delay getting their second shot.
“While Mayo Clinic is saddened to lose valuable employees, we need to take all steps necessary to keep our patients, workforce, visitors and communities safe,” said the clinic in a statement, also confirming that 99% of Mayo Clinic employees across all locations complied with the mandate.