Former Virginia governor and Democratic nominee for the 2021 gubernatorial election Terry McAuliffe said Monday that employers should mandate vaccines, just days after he said he wanted mandates to "make life difficult" for unvaccinated people.
McAuliffe spoke at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society on Aug. 16, saying, "I tell my private businesses all the time, 'I hope you mandate vaccines for people coming in.'"
"We can’t force them. We’re not going door to door, but you make life difficult," he continued. "If you’re going to come to the HIMSS conference, you got to be vaccinated."
The former governor is campaigning against Glenn Youngkin, a Republican backed by former President Donald Trump. This would be McAuliffe's second, nonconsecutive term as governor.
"Today, I am calling on every Virginia employer to require all eligible employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19," McAuliffe 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."
McAuliffe's call followed the Food and Drug Administration's full approval of Pfizer's two-shot COVID-19 vaccine and comes as more private businesses have begun mandating vaccines mandates for employees.
Youngkin said that McAuliffe's announcement was an attempt to "bully" Virginians and businesses into compliance. Still, Youngkin has said he supports the COVID-19 vaccine and encourages residents to get inoculated, adding, "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."
"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," Youngkin said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.
Recent ad campaigns show the two candidates have been tightly focused on pandemic matters. Youngkin released one ad last week promoting vaccine efficacy.
McAuliffe has taken aim at Youngkin's supportive comments of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who has faced sharp criticism from Democrats for an executive order limiting schools from mandating face masks and for the state's recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.
McAuliffe has a 5-point lead over Youngkin, according to the latest poll from Conservatives for Clean Energy.
The Washington Examiner contacted McAuliffe's campaign but did not immediately receive a response.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese