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W.Va. Senate Republicans hold press conference in response to Biden’s vaccine mandate

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 9:13 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - West Virginia Senate President Craig Blair (R), along with other West Virginia Senate members, held a news conference Tuesday after President Joe Biden announced two executive orders issuing vaccine mandates.

“The federal government has gone way too far using this mandate and federal dollars to coerce,” Blair said.

Blair voiced strong opposition to President Biden’s vaccine mandates, and he is not alone.

Kanawha County Republican senator and physician Dr. Tom Takubo, who is a vocal supporter of vaccines, also spoke about what he calls the importance of having a choice.

“I believe the vaccinations are working and saving lives, but people should have the choice for themselves what they should and should not do,” Takubo said.

WSAZ asked lawmakers to further clarify their stance on supporting the vaccine, while at the same time standing against a mandate.

“The governor begs people everyday to get the vaccine. If as a state we believe it is vital to end this virus from taking lives, why not mandate it? Why are you against it if all of the health experts and state says it’s the only way to save lives?” WSAZ asked.

Blair answered the question.

“I personally I have had the vaccine, but I don’t feel the government should dictate personal choice on that,” Blair said. “Again, I have no problems with it, but there are other people that have health issues that the vaccine may come into play religious issues.”

When pressed on the potential need for a special session to talk about the mandate, Senate Republicans have made it clear where they stand.

“So if you need 21 votes, how many do you have?” WSAZ asked.

“I am not going to tell you that. We work together as a team, and I am not hanging not one member out for anything for questions like that,” Blair said. “We’re done, thank you.”

Blair also said in the news conference the Senate is collaborating with the House and governor’s office to create a task force for antibody treatment centers across the state.

The centers would be for people diagnosed with COVID within 10 days and have a doctor’s referral.

Blair said they are asking the West Virginia National Guard to help carry out the centers.

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