Virginia governor's race: Terry McAuliffe, Glenn Youngkin argue about vaccination mandates

Virginia gubernatorial candidates, Democrat Terry McAuliffe left, and Republican Glenn Youngkin, talk during the Virginia FREE Leadership Luncheon in McLean, Va., Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021.

Campaigning in the midst of a deadly pandemic, the candidates for governor of Virginia clashed Thursday over whether government should require people to get COVID-19 vaccinations.

Democratic candidate Terry McAuiffe, a former Virginia governor, said he supports plans to require vaccinations and that Republican Glenn Youngkin’s opposition to mandates will only “unleash COVID.”

“I think that’s life threatening,” McAuliffe said of Youngkin’s COVID policy. “And I think that’s disqualifying as governor.”

Youngkin, a businessman running in his first political race, said everyone should be vaccinated but individuals should make the decisions about getting shots.

“I do believe that individuals should be allowed to make that decision on their own,” Youngkin said.

In their first debate ahead of the Nov. 2 election, McAuliffe and Youngkin also clashed over abortion, economic policy, racial issues, and the legacy of former President Donald Trump.

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