West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, who has publicly urged parents to vaccinate their children, stated Sunday there is "no chance" he would enforce the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for kids, stating that "mandates only divide us."
In light of California Governor Gavin Newsom's recent order requiring the COVID-19 vaccination for children, moderator Margaret Brennan pressed the West Virginia governor on the issue.
"No chance," Justice said.
When questioned why other vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, and polio had previously been required by the state, Justice said that he genuinely thinks that mandates only serve to separate rather than unite the people.
"I truly believe 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. I don't know how many times I've got to say it," the governor remarked during an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation" program.
"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," he added.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just about half of West Virginia's eligible population has received all of the recommended vaccinations. In June, the statewide mask requirement was removed, but schools in 51 of the 55 counties are still required to wear masks.
There have been numerous initiatives targeted at kids above the age of 12 in which Justice has utilized incentives to promote vaccination among West Virginians.
Vaccinated people may register to win prizes via an incentive campaign called "Do it for Babydog," named after the governor's English bulldog.
"We have vaccinated hundreds of thousands of West Virginians," Justice stated after the "tremendously successful" program.
When asked why West Virginia won't compel children to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, Justice stated the choice is up to parents.
Justice responded that everyone wants to keep their children safe. However, parents, like city officials, must make their own choices.
The governor announced 72 coronavirus infections in schools in 26 counties, with 831 confirmed cases, at a news conference last week.
On September 27, Justice said that around 1,000 children have tested positive with COVID-19 and encouraged parents to vaccinate their children to avoid spread and long-term consequences.
"Absolutely the risk of the vaccine is so minimal, it's unbelievable. Absolutely, get your kids vaccinated," Justice said at the press briefing. "It's really safe. Don't take the chance."
So far, the governor of West Virginia has stuck to his guns when it comes to vaccine requirements. As far back as July 26th, the WV News reported that Justice was opposed to any vaccine mandate for state workers. This question was also posed to him since authorities in New York and California have said that they would soon mandate inoculation of state workers.
Despite his frustration with people who refuse or are afraid to be vaccinated, he thinks it is essential to respect their point of view.