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Terry McAuliffe calling on colleges and universities in Virginia to mandate COVID-19 vaccines

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 6:28 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is calling on all Virginia colleges and universities to require students and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19. He stopped by the University of Virginia on Wednesday to applaud the university for doing just that.

“I’m here today to say thank you to the University of Virginia for the great work they’ve done, mandating vaccines for everyone one the students that are here. I congratulate them on that,” McAuliffe said while addressing students at the university.

He answered questions from students while encouraging them to get their friends and family vaccinated.

“What we really need to focus on is being together in this because that’s how we’re going to get out of this pandemic. We can’t just ignore it. It won’t just go away,” said Booker Johnson, a student who came to the event. “We can’t just wish it away. We have to do the work to make it go away. And that starts with getting vaccinated and being educated.”

Only about half of colleges and universities in the commonwealth are mandating students get vaccinated. McAuliffe citing that vaccine mandates are nothing new.

“I remind everybody you have to get vaccinations if you go to kindergarten,” he said. “If you go to our K-12 here in Virginia, everybody has to get a vaccination. My son who’s in the Marines, served in the military, he had to get 17 vaccinations.”

Dr. Cameron Webb with UVA Health said vaccine mandates work to keep people safe, and could potentially change the minds of those who may be on the fence about getting their shot.

“For a lot of people, these mandates are a clear way for us to protect people in schools, in businesses, in our community broadly,” Dr. Webb said. “What mandates do that’s pretty unique is that they give them another reason to change their mind and go get vaccinated.”

McAuliffe said vaccine mandates would not only protect our health, but also keep the economy and schools afloat.

“Here in Virginia, I want us to get everybody vaccinated, because when we do that, our schools will stay open, our businesses will not be adversely impacted. If you look at COVID-19 over the past 17 months, 44% of small African American businesses in America have closed. We can’t go through that again,” he said.

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