Prosecutor who campaigned against vaccine mandates dies of Covid-19

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vaccine mandates
Photograph: Courtesy Kelly Ernby for Assembly Campaign

A deputy district attorney from California who campaigned against vaccine mandates has died of complications from Covid-19. Kelly Ernby was aged 46 when she died after contracting the virus, something her husband blamed on her being unvaccinated at the time of her passing. 

Axel Mattias Ernby said on social media: “She was NOT vaccinated. That’s the problem”. A month before her death, the prosecutor from Orange County had spoken out about vaccine mandates at a rally outside the city hall in Irvine. The protest was organised by a conservative youth organisation called Turning Point USA and attended by students from local universities. 

“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 2021 that “vaccine is not the cure to Covid, and mandates won’t work”, reports the Guardian. 

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Even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kelly Ernby was against any form of tightening of vaccine law and implementation. She opposed a state law that would bring in stricter rules regarding inoculations for California school children. “My fundamental belief is that government should be very small and I don’t believe in mandates,” said Ernby on 3 November 2019.

“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?”

The place in which Ernby lived has been the location for many anti-vaccine mandate rallies. Huntington Beach is about one hour outside Los Angeles and she had worked in the district attorney’s office there since 2011. A statement was posted by Orange county 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.


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