According to the Associated Press, President Joe Biden will be requiring federal employees and contractors to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. The Office of Personnel Management says that 144,00 federal employees reside in Virginia.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe applauded the mandate that Biden is expected to formally announce Thursday afternoon.
“This action by President Biden today is great news for us in Virginia. As the state with the second largest federal workforce in the nation, this decision is critical in our fight to end this pandemic and keep our economy growing,” McAuliffe said in a statement Thursday. “We have more than 140,000 federal employees in Virginia, and ensuring that every single one of them who is eligible is fully vaccinated puts us one step closer towards defeating this virus. This is why I have called for school divisions, hospital systems, and businesses to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine to their employees.”
McAuliffe’s Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin did not comment on the Biden announcement but he has pushed back against vaccines mandates in the past. “I believe that we have to just respect people’s ability to express their liberty to say, no, I’m not going to get this vaccine for whatever reason,” Youngkin said in an interview last month.
Youngkin has said he received the vaccine and encourages his supporters to get it.
McAuliffe has continued to attack Youngkin over his stance on the vaccine, however. “My opponent Glenn Youngkin continues to peddle anti-vaccine rhetoric, and opposes vaccine requirements for schools, businesses and hospital workers,” he said in a statement Thursday. Simply put: when it comes to this pandemic, we are facing a leadership test – and Glenn has already failed.”
Youngkin’s campaign responded to the comments from McAuliffe in a statement Thursday. “Terry McAuliffe is lying, yet again. Glenn is the only candidate that has released a PSA encouraging individuals to get a vaccine and has stated that he is vaccinated himself,” said Macaulay Porter, a spokeswoman for Youngkin. “If Terry McAuliffe gets the chance, he will shut down our economy, close small businesses, and deny Virginians the right to make their own health care decisions.”
McAuliffe is slightly leading his Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin in recent polling for the Nov. 2 election.
Early voting begins Sept. 17.
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