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West Virginia Senate Minority Leader Baldwin issues statement on HB 335, COVID Immunization Requirements

Statement on HB 335, COVID Immunization Requirements

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia State Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, has issued the following statement regarding HB 335, Relating to COVID-19 immunizations requirements for employment in the public and private sectors:

Senator Stephen Baldwin

On the Senate floor (Tuesday), West Virginia Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, compared COVID mitigation efforts in our state to Nazi Germany. I am deeply disturbed that our health care professionals, local government leaders, and business owners attempting to save lives in the midst of an ongoing pandemic are being compared to evil humans who committed the worst atrocities in the world’s history. More than 4,000 West Virginians have died during COVID so far, and millions died during the Holocaust. Each life deserves the dignity of being treated with respect, not trivialized politically. 

Our medical and public health professionals take an oath to protect the lives of their patients and neighbors. They stand firmly united behind proven COVID mitigation strategies such as vaccines, masks in crowded indoor spaces, and personal hygiene. They are heroes who have saved countless lives over the past 19 months. To compare their recommendations to those of Nazi Germany is absurd and profoundly dangerous. 

The majority of the state’s business organizations joined this week with hospitals, doctors, and public health professionals to oppose mandates on business forbidding COVID mitigation strategies. In addition, our three senate colleagues who are physicians with decades of experience, who have been treating COVID patients and signing death certificates, strongly encouraged us to allow hospitals and businesses to make the best decisions for themselves.  I was proud to stand with them.  

I am deeply disappointed in the WV Senate for failing to support our businesses and health professionals. This pandemic is no time to play politics and spread disinformation. What we saw on the Senate floor today was nothing but political grandstanding on a poorly drafted bill which doesn’t do what it pretends to do.  In order to get through this pandemic, we need to listen to the experts, enact their guidance, and then we will get back to life as normal. 

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