Dermott Bottoms holds a COVID-vaccine protest sign outside the Blacktip Island medical clinic Thursday morning before authorities confiscated it. (photo courtesy of Anthony Crider)
A pair of anti-vaccination advocates blocked the entrance to Blacktip Island’s medical clinic Thursday to protest what they say are unreasonable vaccine requirements.
“Government’s saying I got to get a shot, but they don’t have that right,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Bill Gates just wants to scramble my DNA, turn me into a lizard person like him. Ain’t gonna make no iguana out of me.”
The other protester voiced similar concerns.
“Not about a virus, it’s about mind control and tracking folks,” James Conlee said. “If God wanted me vaccinated, I’d’ve been born that way. Me and Dermott, we’re getting the word out to anybody coming in for a jab. There was supposed to be more of us, but I guess the others’re too hung over.”
The island nurse said clinic affairs have been largely unaffected.
“They walked back and forth by the entrance for an hour, chanting and waving signs,” nurse Marissa Graysby said. “Then they got tired and sat on the steps in the shade. Now they just yell every 15 minutes or so, whenever a car drives past.
“It’s kind of entertaining,” Graysby said. “It’s also kind of nice to have someone to talk to instead of sitting here by myself. And most of the island’s already vaxxed, so they’re not really scaring anyone away. I tried explaining no one’s requiring the vaccine, but they’re committed.”
Island authorities say the protest has been peaceful.
“I had to confiscate their signs after James took a swing at Lee Helm when Lee came in to have a boil lanced,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Now that they’re not physically stopping patients from entering the clinic, they’re within their rights to protest and can yell any damn-fool thing they want.”
Some island residents came to the clinic solely to watch the protest.
“The misspelled signs were expected,” Payne Hanover said. “And it’s funny that Dermott and James worried about mind control. Those two have the fewest brain cells of anyone on the island. If someone wanted to control minds, they wouldn’t pick either of them.
“I gave them water, since they were both beet red and sweating like crazy,” Hanover said. “No reason to turn whatever this is into an actual medical emergency.”
Bottoms said the community has shown support.
“People honk and cuss us when they drive past, so you can tell folks’re behind us,” he said. “And Payne bringing water, that’s important. I get dehydrated and dragged into that clinic, M’rissa’d stick me with the vaccine without telling me. Now, if somebody’d donate beer and snacks, we could be here all day.”