Democratic nominee for Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe on Monday called on all employers in his state to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations following the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
“Today, I am calling on every Virginia employer to require all eligible employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” the former Virginia governor said in a statement Monday afternoon. “I have long said that the best way to defeat this deadly virus, keep our students in school and keep Virginia’s economy strong is by getting every eligible Virginian vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
President Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, retweeted McAuliffe’s announcement, which came 10 days after the former governor said in Las Vegas that he wants to “make life difficult” for the unvaccinated in an effort to pressure them into getting the shot.
“We have 93 million Americans today that are not vaccinated, and we need to do everything that we possibly can,” McAuliffe said earlier this month at the HIMSS21 Global Health Conference. “And I tell my private businesses all the time, I hope you mandate vaccines for people coming in. Until we make it hard for people to get on planes or go to movie theaters, people just aren’t going to do it.”
“We can’t force them, we’re not going door to door, but you make life difficult,” he said. “If you’re going to come to the HIMSS conference, you got to be vaccinated.”
McAuliffe’s Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, pushed back against the vaccine mandate in an emailed statement to Fox News, saying the Virginia Democrat is trying to “bully” Virginians “into complying with what McAuliffe and the government thinks is best.”
“I have made the choice to get vaccinated and encourage everyone to join me in doing that, but ultimately it is a personal decision to do so,” Youngkin said. “Virginia is already struggling to recover from the pandemic due to failed Democratic leadership, and now Terry McAuliffe wants to ‘make life difficult’ for Virginians and businesses by issuing a government mandate that attempts to bully them into complying with what McAuliffe and the government thinks is best, and that will clearly evolve into closing down businesses and locking down Virginia again.”
Earlier Monday, the FDA granted full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years and older, paving the way for the Pentagon to mandate the vaccine among 1.3 million active-duty service members.