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(LifeSiteNews) — The Virginia Department of Health is considering an inoculation requirement for all school employees and students and is taking into account public comments on the proposed mandate until October 17.

Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam mandated all state employees receive COVID shots by September 1. Students are not required to get jabbed for COVID, though it’s available for anyone 12 years and older.

Most of the 3,898 comments so far appear to be in opposition of the petition. People can submit comments here.

Some raised the issue of liberty and medical freedom.

“Not only is this an irrational approach scientifically, though. It’s illiberal,” Timothy Mayer said. “That is, to force such actions on Americans isn’t in the power of their government. As such we’re no longer discussing just a public safety issue, but a democratic freedom issue.”

“We cannot accept such impositions as free Americans. If we individually accept the scientific benefits of the vaccines, we have or will get them,” Mayer added. “Regardless, this ‘mandate’ is to be opposed by any free American.”

Other opponents of forced jabs brought up medical concerns about COVID shots.

“There are teachers with severe allergies, blood clotting disorders and average other issues which make this a huge risk,” one person wrote. “Our teachers have put themselves on the line for 20 months now and we will thank them by taking away choice? No.”

Vaccine supporters argued that there are already vaccination requirements for school.

“My daughter and all other students should have a right to be able to attend school without being unnecessarily put at risk by other students and teachers who refuse to be vaccinated, and without constant disruptions to their education. The irrational minority should not be dictating the public health policy for VA or the schools,” Kristen Calleja wrote in her proposal first posted on September 1.

There is a Kristen Calleja who works in the Virginia Attorney General’s office. LifeSiteNews contacted the attorney general’s office to ask if she started the petition, and if so, if she wrote it in a personal or professional capacity, but did not immediately receive a response.

“Vaccines are already required for all state employees,” Calleja said. “In addition, vaccines should be required for all students for whom the vaccine has been fully approved, just as many other vaccines are mandated.”

Comments in support of the mandate blamed people who have chosen not to get jabbed for mandatory masking policies.

“My kids who are old enough are vaxxed. They had NO lasting side effects,” one comment said. “But they continue to mask because they have siblings who are too young to be vaxxed and we have no idea what the belligerent non-vaxxed families they are around at school are doing outside of school. You want to get rid of masks? Then get vaxxed!”

“The only way to instill confidence in sending kids back in person is to require full control vaccine protection,” one person wrote. “Just like we vaccinate for other diseases, we should require vaccination for COVID.”

Another commentator said that teachers are still free to get jabbed if they choose, but children are not at a significant risk from COVID.

“The science shows minimal risk for young people. If we are to follow that, then a vaccine is not warranted,” one person said. “The vaccine is proving more harm than protection in young people. If teachers are concerned then they have a right to vaccinate.  This is unnecessary and wreck less [sic] for our youth.”

People younger than 18 years have consistently represented less than four percent of all “COVID-19 associated hospitalizations” since March 2020 through September 25, 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At least one-third of COVID pediatric patients suffered from obesity, according to the CDC’s surveillance data, updated through August 31, 2021.

Parents of boys may also have concerns about the potential consequences of their children getting the COVID shot, particularly when weighed against the likelihood of an adverse reaction to a COVID infection.

Dr. Doran Fink, a vaccine adviser to the Food and Drug Administration, said the jabs are more dangerous for males under 40 years old than COVID itself due to the risks of myocarditis and pericarditis. Fink discussed the Pfizer jab specifically, but he appeared to have been speaking generally about all of the U.S. COVID shots.

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