New Minnesota senator calls COVID-19 vaccines a ‘death shot’ at Capitol rally

Republican lawmakers and anti-vaccine activists decried vaccine requirements at Capitol rally for ‘health freedom’

By: - January 6, 2023 2:33 pm

Sen. Nathan Wesenberg, R-Little Falls, speaks at a rally against vaccine mandates at the Minnesota Capitol on Jan. 5, 2023. Screenshot from Alpha News.

Newly elected Minnesota state Sen. Nathan Wesenberg, R-Little Falls, suggested Gov. Tim Walz should be jailed and called COVID-19 vaccines a “death shot” during a rally at the state Capitol on Thursday.

“I’m not anti-vaccine but I’m anti-COVID-vaccine. It’s not a vaccine, it’s a death shot,” Wesenberg said during the demonstration, which was filmed by Alpha News.

The demonstration was organized by local anti-vaccine groups and featured Dr. Scott Jensen, the 2022 Republican candidate for Minnesota governor and a family doctor who rose to prominence by spreading misinformation about COVID-19 on Fox News.

The speakers also included Republican state Sens. Eric Lucero, Jim Abeler, Steve Drazkowski, Andrew Mathews and Glenn Gruenhagen as well as Reps. Pam Altendorf and Walter Hudson.

Anti-vaccine activists have decried vaccine “mandates” as an infringement on their civil liberties despite the fact that vaccine requirements for students and government workers include exemptions for religious and health reasons.

Wesenberg, who defeated two longtime state legislators in the Republican primary, said his wife recently left a job as a doctor because her employer didn’t like that she was writing exemptions for masks and COVID-19 vaccines. A LinkedIn profile for Jennifer Wesenberg says she left a job at CentraCare in February 2022.

Wesenberg said he and his wife are working on opening their own clinic in Little Falls.

During the event, former Republican candidate for state House Mark Bishofsky referred to the “scamdemic” and claimed that miscarriages, athlete deaths and disability claims have increased because of vaccine mandates.

“The lying and corruption that is going on during this ‘scamdemic’ is like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” said Bishofsky, who said he resigned from his job as a respiratory therapist after refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “I predict, that sooner or later, hopefully soon, that people are going to go to jail.”

Wesenberg echoed Bishofsky’s sentiments when he took the podium.

“Mark said maybe we should start sending people to jail because of these mandates. Maybe we should start with Tim Walz,” Wesenberg said.

They are wrong about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, according to scientists.

Between December 2020 and June 2021, nearly 300 million doses of mRNA were administered.

In the medical journal The Lancet, Drs. Elizabeth J. Phillips and Matthew Krantz of Vanderbilt University wrote last year: “Although approximately one in 1,000 individuals vaccinated may have an adverse effect, most of these are non-serious. No unusual patterns emerged in the cause of death or serious adverse effects among VAERS reports.”

Moreover, they write, “The safety monitoring of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines stands out as the most comprehensive of any vaccine in U.S. history.”

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Previously, he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.