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Virginia Health Commissioner Says He’ll Force All Residents To Take COVID-19 Vaccine

Posted on 24 August 2020

Virginia’s Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver vows that he will force all Virginians take a vaccine for COVID-19 once one is created and readily available.

“It is killing people now, we don’t have a treatment for it and if we develop a vaccine that can prevent it from spreading in the community we will save hundreds and hundreds of lives,” Dr. Norman Oliver told 8News on Friday.

Virginia state law gives the Commissioner of Health “the authority to mandate immediate immunizations during a public health crisis if a vaccine is available. Health officials say an immunization could be released as early as 2021,” the station said. “Dr. Oliver says that, as long as he is still the Health Commissioner, he intends to mandate the coronavirus vaccine.”

Virginia state law allows resident who have medical exemptions to refuse mandatory vaccines, but all others are required to take them. Currently, the Virginia General Assembly is weighing a bill in a special emergency session that “eliminates the authority of the Commissioner of Health to require immunization of individuals who object to such administration on religious grounds,” the bill says.

The bill is now in committee and must be approved there before lawmakers take a full vote.

“Oliver says he strongly opposes the bill. He doesn’t know what the punishment would be for non-compliance but expects that most people will respond well to the mandate,” 8News reported.

Meanwhile, a new poll suggests more than one in three Americans aren’t interested in getting a coronavirus vaccine. Even though health officials say it will be safe, some have raised concerns about the speed of development.

“We would not launch a campaign around mass vaccination with anything that hasn’t proven to be safe,” Oliver said.

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