Former governor Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign in Virginia requires all workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to campaign manager Chris Bolling, making McCauliffe the first major political candidate to make vaccination mandatory.

“‘In the interest of public health and the safety and wellbeing of our team, Terry for Virginia has made the decision to require full vaccination against Covid-19 as a condition of employment with the campaign,” Bolling announced in a statement.

“The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, supporters and volunteers is our top priority, and this is another important step to protect our community and get through this pandemic,” McAuliffe, a Democrat, said.

President Joe Biden issued new vaccination regulations for government employees in late July, requiring proof of immunization or compliance with weekly testing.

The rigorous new restrictions are intended to boost slow vaccination rates among Americans who work for the federal government, as well as set an example for private businesses across the country.

“Right now, too many people are dying or watching someone they love die and say, ‘If I’d just got the vaccine,” Biden said in a solemn speech from the White House’s East Room.

“This is an American tragedy.”People are dying who don’t have to die.” Biden’s directive puts him in the center of a heated political dispute about the government’s power to force Americans to follow public health recommendations.

The federal government directly employs approximately 4 million people, but when federal contractors are added in, Biden’s move might effect many more.

When combining individuals who work for firms that contract with the government and those who work under federal programs, New York University professor of public service Paul Light believes that almost 7 million more people might be included.

The Department of Veterans Affairs became the first major government agency to mandate health-care employees to get the injection last week, members of the US military will be required to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination by September 15.

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