By Brandon Jarvis

After the FDA announced their full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Monday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe called on all Virginia employers to require the vaccine for their employees. 

“I am calling on every Virginia employer to require all eligible employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” McAuliffe said in an announcement Monday. “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.”

The full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine applies to any person 16 years and older. “As the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. 

McAuliffe’s opponent Glenn Youngkin says he believes the vaccine should remain a personal decision. “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,” he said in a statement. 

Youngkin has been encouraging his supporters to receive the vaccine if they want to, but he has opposed any type of vaccine mandate. 

In a statement Monday, Youngkin said McAuliffe’s vaccine policies would lead to Virginia businesses shutting down. “Virginia is already struggling to recover from the pandemic due to failed Democratic leadership,” Youngkin continued. “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.”

McAuliffe has already called on all Virginia public schools to require vaccines for school staff and he recently issued a statement saying that he will be requiring his campaign staff to be vaccinated.  

“Today’s announcement puts us one important step closer to reaching that goal,” McAuliffe said Monday about the FDA approval. “Together, we can beat this virus once and for all, keep our fellow Virginians safe, and keep our Commonwealth’s economy running strong.”

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