West Virginia Governor: ‘No Chance’ of COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Students

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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced on Oct. 3 that there’s “no chance” he’ll mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for children attending school.

When asked about whether he would copy a mandate signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to mandate vaccines for eligible children to attend class, Justice told CBS News that he won’t do it.

“From the standpoint of mandates, I don’t believe in imposing upon our freedoms, over and over and over. And I’ve said that over, I don’t know how many times I gotta say it,” Justice told the network. “But from the standpoint of our children, I’m going to still encourage in every way, because I truly believe that the more people that we get vaccinated, the less people will die. But at the same time, we still got to stand up for who we are.”

Justice, a Republican, said that such mandates are divisive. “For crying out loud, we’re Americans.”

Several weeks after Newsom, a Democrat, survived a recall attempt, he became the first governor in the nation to announce a statewide vaccine mandate for schoolchildren aged 12 and up.

“The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella—there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19,” Newsom said.

Numerous studies and federal health data show that children are very unlikely to develop serious or long illness, become hospitalized, or die from COVID-19. A study found that in the UK, five times more children committed suicide during pandemic lockdowns than died from the virus.

Last week, Newsom announced “a statewide requirement for in-person instruction for all of our children to add to a well-established list that currently includes 10 vaccinations … the vaccination for COVID-19.”

“Are there exemptions? Yes, well-established exemptions for medical reasons, personal and/or religious beliefs. Those are established in those guidelines as well,” he said.

By Jack Phillips

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