McAuliffe calls on 'every Virginia employer' to mandate vaccines after FDA approval

McAuliffe calls on 'every Virginia employer' to mandate vaccines after FDA approval
© Greg Nash

Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called on all of the state's employers to require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval to Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine on Monday. 

“Today, I am calling on every Virginia employer to require all eligible employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19," McAuliffe said in a statement.

"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. Today’s announcement puts us one important step closer to reaching that goal," he continued. 

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Last week, McAuliffe called on all Virginia school systems to require that educators and staff are fully vaccinated. McAuliffe's Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, has taken a different approach, encouraging Virginians to get vaccinated but maintaining that it is up to individuals to decide whether they want to get vaccinated. 

"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," Youngkin said in a statement to The Hill on Monday. "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."

McAuliffe's statement came hours after the FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine. Pfizer's vaccine will be marketed as Comirnaty, with the full authorization applying to vaccine recipients age 16 and older, while the FDA's emergency use authorization will remain for those between 12 and 15. 

Additionally, the Pentagon announced on Monday that it plans to release guidance making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for service members. 

--Updated at 2:25 p.m.