Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe announced a new effort to get Virginians vaccinated against COVID-19 this week with his “Virginia is for Vaccine Lovers: Keeping Virginians Safe, Schools Open, and Our Economy Strong Through COVID-19 Safety and Vaccines” campaign. It is part of McAuliffe’s twentieth comprehensive plan to get Virginians vaccinated and rebuild a stronger economy.
Part of the new plan is the deployment of public health workers to regions of Virginia with low vaccination rates, ensuring that Virginians have critical information about vaccine safety, and using mobile vaccine clinics to make it easier for Virginians to get vaccinated.
“People need to understand that this is FDA approved, it’s safe, and as you know in Virginia today if you go to any of our K-12 (schools), you have to take at least ten different vaccinations. This is safe. And if you get the vaccination, highly unlikely you will die,” McAuliffe said.
If allowed to continue to spread and mutate, particularly through unvaccinated people, “at some point you could actually have a variant that is resistant to vaccines,” McAuliffe said.
The COVID-19 pandemic is growing increasingly dire.
“Seventy-five percent of our ICU beds are full,” McAuliffe said. In Southwest Virginia, 93 percent of those ICU beds are full.
His plan will incentivize businesses to mandate vaccines for their employees, encourage school divisions to require vaccines for all eligible personnel, and expand access to childcare and other programs to help address learning loss and help parents get back to work.
McAuliffe said those goals will be accomplished in part by using unspent funds from the American Rescue Plan.
“My opponent (Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin) is not for mandating any of this. He doesn’t believe that children should be wearing masks in schools,” McAuliffe said.
In a statement released in August, the Youngkin campaign said that “In addition to his opposition to statewide school mask mandates, Youngkin has repeatedly expressed his objection to vaccine passports and vaccine mandates. Youngkin has chosen to get the vaccine and believes that Virginians have the right to decide for themselves whether or not to get vaccinated based on their personal circumstances.”
“I just think it’s reckless,” said McAuliffe of Youngkin’s stance on mask-wearking. The virus “isn’t going away any time soon, so we have to do everything that we possibly can to keep our children in school, to build the strongest economy, and we’ve got to really get serious, and we’ve got to fight this deadly infection.”