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Legislators concerned that COVID-19 vaccine mandates could contribute to worker shortage

Some worry jobs in Virginia could take another hit because of the direction from the White House

Companies with more than 100 employees have just over a month to meet President Biden’s new COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

ROANOKE, Va. – Companies with more than 100 employees have just over a month to meet President Biden’s new COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

“If you want to work with the federal government or do businesses, get vaccinated. This is not about freedom or personal choice. It’s about protecting yourself and those around you,” Biden said.

But Virginia Congressman Ben Cline is fighting the proposed mandate, saying it could add to many labor problems already seen across the United States.

“I’ve been traveling around to manufacturers all around the area, and that’s the first thing they say is we’re having trouble getting employees, and these mandates will have us lose employees at a critical time. It’ll make it that much harder for our economy to recover,” Cline said.

On the state level, Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin is promising to reverse a requirement set by Governor Ralph Northam’s administration requiring the shot for state employees.

“I will not mandate the vaccine, and I believe that we should not have government mandates. I don’t believe people should get fired from their jobs for not getting the vaccine,” Youngkin said.

Northam said he shared his thoughts with the Youngkin administration regarding the pandemic.

“I have had some great discussions with Governor-Elect Youngkin and I’ve been pressed to him and I think others have to that this pandemic is serious,” Northam said.

While employees who choose not to get the shot could undergo weekly testing if they don’t follow the mandate, some still worry about the long-term impacts that could come.

“Businesses are just struggling to get back on their feet to end they’re having a hard time getting employees to put businesses at the risk of having to lose a quarter or a third of their employees. It might just be enough to put them under,” Cline said.

Companies have until Jan. 4 to comply with the order, according to the White House.


About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.