Graham: Youngkin Kinda, Sorta, Encouraging Virginians to Get COVID Vaccine Shots
By Chris Graham
Gov. Glenn Youngkin is half-heartedly encouraging Virginians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, through a PSA produced by the Virginia Department of Health.
The press release from the governor’s office noted in the first paragraph that Youngkin “does not believe in mandating the vaccine,” the nod to the base, who are of course the people who are not yet vaccinated, and thus would seem to be the target audience for the PSA.
This effort, if you can call it that, almost makes sense.
“I have always been a strong advocate for everyone to get the vaccine,” Youngkin said. “We know that the vaccine is the best protection against severe illness as a result of COVID-19. 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. After a heartbreaking pandemic, getting vaccinated can ensure that there are better days ahead for Virginia.”
Problem here is, Youngkin, who has said that he is fully vaccinated and boosted, doesn’t want to run afoul of the base, which has been told for the past year that it’s safer to take horse dewormer or even drink their own urine than it is to get vaccinated.
Which is why we’re still at just 70.9 percent of the Commonwealth being fully vaccinated and 32.3 percent fully vaccinated and boosted.
The vaccination map is basically the Youngkin heat map from Election Night.
That Youngkin is even trying to pretend to advocate for vaccinations is a non sequitur.
The good news is that VDH is reporting just 1,761 new COVID cases today, and the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is reporting just 1,676 people with COVID in hospitals across the state, the lowest number since Dec. 27.
We’re on the downward slope of the Omicron wave, which we don’t know right now whether Omicron will be the last wave or not.
We can only hope.
“Vaccines work, and we applaud Gov. Youngkin for sharing these very important messages,” Acting State Health Commissioner Colin M. Greene said. “Most of the people hospitalized with COVID-19, especially those experiencing severe symptoms, are unvaccinated. If you have not been vaccinated, please get vaccinated. It could save your life.”
The presser from Youngkin’s office touted his COVID-19 Action Plan, which includes efforts to host additional COVID-19 vaccine events across the state and increasing the number of mobile vaccine units that serve rural communities.
To find a vaccine event near you, contact or check the website of your local health department; to schedule a vaccine appointment at a CVC, pharmacy or other location, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1).
Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages. Walk-ins are welcome at the CVCs, but appointments are encouraged.
Chris Graham, editor of The Augusta Free Press, and an award-winning journalist and editor is a 1994 graduate of the University of Virginia and has covered Virginia politics since 1997. An author of seven books, Chris co-wrote Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, published in 2019.
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