Make informed vaccine choices

Published 6:02 pm Friday, March 11, 2022

By Gov. Glenn Youngkin

Virginia has made great strides in fighting the devastating COVID-19 pandemic that swept the globe over the past two years.

More than 6 million people are fully vaccinated and our vaccination rate of 72% means we have one of the better vaccination rates in the country. As we work toward returning to normal, Virginians deserve to have the best health care tools and resources to make informed decisions for themselves and their families.

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However, the progress we have made is uneven throughout the commonwealth and underscores the need to update our COVID-19 plan. Many Virginians remain unvaccinated, and many of them reside in Southwest and Southside Virginia. There are a variety of reasons for their hesitancy, some due to the lack of information and lack of easy access to vaccines. We must do better, and we will.

Under my administration, the Virginia Department of Health has redoubled its efforts, particularly in under vaccinated parts of Virginia to reinforce the importance of taking a vaccination against this virus. My administration’s campaign to increase vaccination rates is taking a different approach than in the past.

Freedom of choice is a fundamental right in this nation and this commonwealth. We are going to empower the individual with information, provide facts to counter misinformation, and increase access to vaccinations to give each Virginian the ability to decide whether the vaccine is right for them. We will not rely on the government mandating individuals what they shall do, using the power of laws, regulations or executive orders.

In the commonwealth, local health districts and community leaders are closest to their communities. Local public health leaders need to develop additional vaccination campaigns. Local public health physicians and staff are your friends and neighbors, and they know your communities intimately. No two districts are identical, so we will be reaching out to rural and urban communities through a variety of means.

We want each person to be equipped with the facts about the decades-long history of the research that established the scientific foundation that went into the successful development of these vaccines during the previous administration’s successful Operation Warp Speed.

I am a believer in the science behind these vaccines. My family, and I have been vaccinated and boosted. We have done so out of concern, not just for our health, but for that of our friends, vulnerable members of our community, and the greater society.

While I will not be mandating the vaccine, I hope we can convince as many Virginians who are eligible for the vaccine to get it. I ask you as your neighbor to please get vaccinated. We are going to continue to provide access to necessary resources and information; by joining hands as a community, we can fully return to normal.

 

Glenn Youngkin is governor of Virginia.