RICHMOND — Medical professionals across Virginia released a new video last week explaining why Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin’s responses about vaccine mandates have them worried for the commonwealth. Nearly 100 physicians also penned a letter outlining their concerns and urging Mr. Youngkin to clearly and unequivocally share his support for vaccine requirements.
“When Mr. Youngkin gives conflicting messages about vaccines, doctors like me worry that it could lead some to dangerously distrust the vaccines that we know are safe and save lives,” said Dr. Rommaan Ahmad, a pain management physiatrist in Alexandria and Virginia Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care. “As a physician, I work each and every day to ensure my patients have clear, accurate information to protect their health and well-being, and I expect the same from our elected officials. If Mr. Youngkin is unwilling to be straightforward and promote the public health measures Virginia needs to keep kids safely in schools and families healthy, he’s frankly not fit to be governor.”
Signers of the letter are included here.
The full text is included below:
As physicians and health professionals, we are deeply concerned that Republican candidate for governor, Glenn Youngkin, continues to send conflicting messages about vaccinations. As someone who aspires to lead the Commonwealth of Virginia, Mr. Youngkin’s contradictory and confusing positions on vaccines, which he has communicated through high-profile platforms such as candidate forums, gubernatorial debates and media interviews, could dangerously influence people’s attitudes toward vaccinations.
To help end any confusion about his position on vaccines, we call on Mr. Youngkin to publicly and definitively:
Promise to require COVID-19 vaccinations as part of the mandatory immunization schedule for children attending school, child care and other congregant centers.
Issue a standalone statement in support of vaccinations for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) for children — an existing public health requirement that he failed to affirm during the second debate with Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe on Sept. 28.
Present scientific evidence to explain why he opposes COVID-19 vaccines for children as part of required immunizations if, as he emailed the Virginian-Pilot on Sept. 30, he feels vaccinations against mumps, measles and rubella should continue to be required.
Mr. Youngkin has taken contradictory and conflicting positions on vaccines throughout his campaign. While Mr. Youngkin says he supports COVID-19 vaccines and encourages people to get vaccinated, he also said during the first gubernatorial debate on Sept. 16 that nurses caring for immunocompromised cancer patients should not be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a position that could put patients’ lives at risk.
Mr. Youngkin has promised to block schools and businesses from implementing universal safety measures that can reduce COVID-19 transmission, such as mask wearing and vaccine requirements. Mr. Youngkin has said he prefers to follow the example of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose anti-mask, anti-vaccine policies led to massive outbreaks and mass deaths in the state. Mr. Youngkin has also released a campaign ad featuring a physician who has posted anti-mask rhetoric on his Facebook page.
The science is clear: Vaccinations and masks can help minimize the spread of COVID-19. These two simple safety measures are essential to protecting and saving lives. By requiring vaccinations and widespread mask use, we can reduce the tremendous pain and suffering so many Virginians have suffered and may still suffer. And by making Virginia safe again, small businesses, schools and communities can reopen responsibly so our economy and way of life can fully resume.
We urge Mr. Youngkin to help frontline physicians and health professionals serving Virginia families during the COVID-19 pandemic, and unequivocally support vaccine requirements.
About the Committee to Protect Health Care
The Committee to Protect Health Care, formerly known as the Committee to Protect Medicare, is a national mobilization of doctors, health care professionals, and advocates who are building a pro-patient health care majority in Congress and in states so that we can live in an America where everyone has the health care they need to thrive. To learn more: www.committeetoprotect.org