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WV Gov. Jim Justice Turns Defensive Over School Vaccine Mandates, After “Body Bags” Warning

WV Gov. Jim Justice Turns Defensive Over School Vaccine Mandates, After “Body Bags” Warning

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is a Republican, but that hasn’t stopped him from urging his constituents to get vaccinated against COVID-19. He’s even warned that if the population doesn’t get vaccinated, it’s only going to ensure more deaths. Still, he turned defensive when pressed about the possibility of mandating vaccines for schoolchildren in his state.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV – JULY 31: Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier Resort, applauds on the 18th tee during the final round of The Greenbrier Classic at The Old White TPC on July 31, 2011 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

In the clip below, Governor Justice appears on Face the Nation, and declares that he will never mandate COVID-19 vaccines for school attendance. When pressed about why he would feel differently about mandating this vaccine, when so many, such as the measles mumps rubella vaccine, are already required, he gets upset and tells host Margaret Brennan she doesn’t have to “come in so hot” when he’s an invited guest on the show.

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Justice joins many Republican colleagues in firmly opposing mandates for vaccination, but he’s spoken several times to tell his constituents that skipping the vaccine could be a fatal error. Just a few weeks ago, he warned that if people don’t make the right decision here, “we are just gonna keep lining those body bags up.” He’s told anti-vaxxers they’re buying tickets in a “death lottery.”

Students, however, are in a different position — children rarely make their own choices about vaccines, but will be submitted to their parents’ choices, instead, making them vulnerable in a unique way. Vaccine mandates in schools are a key part of public health in the United States.

With that being the case, and with Justice’s clear awareness that the COVID-19 vaccine is a life-saving public health tool, it stands out that he becomes defensive, instead of having an answer ready to explain why he would oppose mandates for schoolkids.

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