West Virginia governor: 'No chance' of vaccine mandate for students

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) said on Sunday that there is “no chance” he will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for school children.

Moderator Margaret Brennan asked the West Virginia governor on CBS’s “Face the Nation” if he is going to consider mandating the COVID-19 vaccine to students in light of a similar order by California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Shipwreck sends waste thousands of miles Less than 2 percent of philanthropy goes toward our biggest threat — climate change Appeals court blocks California vaccine mandate for prison workers MORE (D). 

“No chance,” Justice responded.

When asked why the state had previously mandated other vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and polio, Justice replied that he "truly" believes "that the mandates only divide us and only divide us more.”

“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 Brennan. “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.”

“For crying out loud, we're Americans,” he added.

COVID-19 cases in West Virginia are currently higher than they were this summer The state saw over 1,600 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and close to 2,000 the day prior. In comparison, cases were in the double digits in parts of June and July, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Roughly 56 percent of the state’s population aged 12 years and older have been at least partially vaccinated while 47 percent are fully vaccinated. In comparison, 76 percent of people aged 12 years and older are at least partially vaccinated across the U.S. while 65 percent are fully vaccinated.

Newsom recently announced that he would mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for all students. His order would first apply to students between the ages of 12 and 17 years old, once the Food and Drug Administration fully authorizes it for that age group.