FILE – COVID-19 vaccine trials

(The Center Square) – People employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia are now required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit weekly COVID-19 test results and wear a face covering to continue working, per a new rule that went into effect Sept. 1.

The policy, which was implemented by Gov. Ralph Northam, will affect about 122,000 workers. It does not affect private employees or local government employees, but the governor has encouraged them to adopt similar policies.

Workers who refuse to follow the new rules could face disciplinary action.

“The only way to end this pandemic is ... for everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” Northam said when he first announced the rule. “As head of state government, we have a responsibility to lead by example and ensure the safety of our employees and the people they serve. The three vaccines are safe, effective, free, and widely available, and I strongly urge every eligible Virginian to get their shot. The time for waiting is over.”

Vaccination rates have remained higher for the older population. Nearly two-thirds of Virginia’s eligible population is fully vaccinated and about 83.5% of the population aged 83.5% are fully vaccinated. Death or serious illness are rare for younger people, but the risks increase when a person is older or has a compromised immune system or other health issues.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.