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PETITION: No to mandatory vaccination for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

VIRGINIA, August 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Virginia’s top health bureaucrat wants to force nearly all the state’s residents to be vaccinated against COVID-19 once a vaccine is completed and released, though he does not yet have the support of the state’s left-wing governor.

“It is killing people now, we don’t have a treatment for it and if we develop a vaccine that can prevent it from spreading in the community we will save hundreds and hundreds of lives,” Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver told 8News Friday. He said he didn’t yet know what the punishment would be for noncompliance, but insisted the state “would not launch a campaign around mass vaccination with anything that hasn’t proven to be safe.”

Current state law empowers the health commissioner to compel immunizations in a public health crisis, with exceptions only for those who have medical exemptions. Oliver added that he opposes adding a religious exemption as well.

The announcement, and the broader nationwide pushes for mandatory vaccination since the COVID-19 outbreak first reached the United States, have provoked significant pushback. 

READ: Doctors lay out plan to ‘punish’ people who refuse coronavirus vaccine: ‘There is no alternative’

Republican state Delegate Mark Cole has introduced one bill to add an opt-out for those with religious exemptions, and Republican Del. Dave LaRock has introduced another to stop the state from mandating any vaccine that is derived from human fetal tissue, modifies a patient’s DNA or RNA, or was not tested on animals prior to human trials. The medical freedom lobbying group Virginia Freedom Keepers (VFK) is currently circulating a petition in support of the religious exemption bill.

“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue,” or a “pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine issue,” VFK communications director Kathleen Medaries said. “For me, it’s an issue of being able to assess each vaccine for myself and my family one at a time… [Oliver] shouldn’t be the one person to make a decision for all of Virginians.”

The Home Educators Association of Virginia agrees.

“HEAV does not take a position on vaccines; we are not pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine,” wrote the group’s Director of Homeschool Support and Government Affairs, Yvonne Bunn. “However, HEAV does believe it is parents who should make vaccine decisions for their family, not the government. Although the primary focus of our organization is on home education, we also have a responsibility to inform parents about law changes that could undermine and weaken OR strengthen and protect parental rights. It is up to all individuals to respond in a way that is consistent with their beliefs.”

Notably, Virginia’s Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam – himself a pediatric neurologist who supports late-term abortion – is not onboard with mandatory vaccination, at least not yet.

“When Dr. Oliver spoke of his support of a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine for adults, he was sharing his personal opinion as a physician,” a health department spokesman said in a follow-up to 8News. “Currently, the Northam administration has taken no official policy position on whether or not a COVID-19 vaccine for adults should be mandatory. VDH regrets this error.”

Of course, Northam’s position comes with little comfort that he won’t change his mind once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes a reality – particularly in light of the draconian lockdown policies he pursued in the name of containing the coronavirus, including the government encouraging residents to anonymously report their neighbors neighbors who fail to wear face masks or exceed capacity limits in gatherings including religious worship.

The threat of a forced medical intervention such as a coronavirus vaccine is not unique to the United States.

The Australian government announced a plan to supply Australians with Astrazeneca’s coronavirus vaccine. That vaccine is being developed in collaboration with the University of Oxford and is using the HEK-293 cell line, which was originally derived from kidney tissue taken from a baby girl who was aborted in the Netherlands in 1972 and later developed into a cell line in a lab in 1973.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that a coronavirus vaccine will be made “as mandatory as you can possibly make it.” He then quickly walked back the comments somewhat, saying that the vaccine “is not going to be compulsory” and that “we can’t hold someone down and make them take it.”

“Fear of a disease – which we know very little about, relative to other similar diseases – must not lead to knee-jerk reactions regarding public health, nor can it justify supporting the hidden agenda of governmental as well as non-governmental bodies that have apparent conflicts of interest in plans to restrict personal freedoms,” says LifeSiteNews’ ongoing petition against a mandatory coronavirus vaccination, which has gathered more than 849,000 signatures.