This week, former Virginia governor and gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe called on businesses in the state to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their employees following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the Pfizer vaccine for eligible individuals age 16 and older.
In a tweet shared on Monday, McAuliffe said, “I’m calling on EVERY Virginia employer to require all eligible employees to be vaccinated.” This follows suit with the former governor’s requirement for his campaign staff to be vaccinated and his support for school districts to require teachers to be vaccinated before returning to school this fall.
BREAKING: Following the full FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this morning, I’m calling on EVERY Virginia employer to require all eligible employees to be vaccinated. We need every eligible Virginian to get vaccinated to beat this virus. Together, we'll get it done.— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) August 23, 2021
On the other hand, McAuliffe’s Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, shared a video from a conference earlier this month where McAuliffe said he wants to “make life difficult” for individuals who opt to not get vaccinated.
“We have 93 million Americans today that are not vaccinated. And we need to do everything that we possibly can. I tell my private businesses all the time ‘I hope you mandate vaccines for people coming in.' ‘Til we make it hard for people to get on planes or go to movie theaters, people just aren’t going to do it. We’re not going door-to-door, but you make life difficult.”
Terry McAuliffe says he wants to "make life difficult" for Virginians who don't comply with his COVID vaccine mandate.— Team Youngkin (@TeamYoungkin) August 23, 2021
"Make it hard for people get on planes or go to movie theaters," he says. pic.twitter.com/jmsBermcUh
Youngkin, while a proponent of the vaccine, has said repeatedly he believes it’s an individual’s choice whether or not to get the shot.
Data show the COVID vaccine saves lives. That’s why I chose to get the vaccine.— Glenn Youngkin (@GlennYoungkin) August 2, 2021
Virginians have the right to decide for themselves, but if you are in a high-risk category, I especially encourage you to get vaccinated.
"I 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 reiterated in a tweet shared Monday.
Other lawmakers have taken more drastic measures to implement vaccine mandates. In New York City, for example, Mayor Bill de Blasio mandated individuals be vaccinated to be granted entrance to many indoor businesses within the city. The “Key to NYC Pass,” dubbed a “vaccine passport” by some, is used to show proof of vaccination. Conversely, several states, including Texas and Florida, have signed directives or rolled out legislation to prevent vaccine mandates and vaccine passports.
With the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine, specifically, this could pave the way for more businesses, cities, and even states to roll out vaccine mandates to combat coronavirus and the spread of the Delta variant.