Virginia’s incoming lieutenant governor questions Covid vaccines for those who’ve had the virus before

Republican Virginia Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears on Sunday refused to say whether she’d received the Covid-19 vaccine while repeating a series of falsehoods and misconceptions about the vaccines and infections.

Sears, who did not reveal her vaccination status during her successful campaign for the second-highest seat in Virginia, told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” that revealing it would create a “slippery slope” to being asked to reveal other personal information about her “DNA” and medical history.

“The minute that I start telling you about my vaccine status, we’re going to be down the bottom of the mountain trying to figure out how we got there because now you want to know what’s in my DNA. You’re going to want to know this, that and the other,” Sears said.

Sears, who won an historic victory as the first Black woman to hold the office, said she would not “force anybody” to get the Covid vaccine and called for government officials to allow individuals to decide for themselves what measures to take to protect against the virus.

“We have to remember that we’re America. We love our freedom. We love our liberty. People are dying to get into this country so that they can do well for themselves and their families. Let’s not make it like some other countries. Let’s let liberty shine,” Sears said.

Vaccine requirements were a major issue in statewide elections in Virginia earlier this month. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe repeatedly criticized Republican Glenn Youngkin for not embracing a strict vaccine mandate. Youngkin, who went on to win in November’s election, has said he does not support a vaccine mandate.

Sears repeatedly referenced commonly held falsehoods about the Covid vaccine and the virus itself. She suggested people who’ve been infected with Covid-19 did not need to get the vaccine, and questioned the benefits that masks provide for protecting against transmission of the virus.

“Let’s ask ourselves, if the purpose of the Covid vaccine is to prevent us from getting Covid, then why is it that those who have had Covid must get the vaccine? One doesn’t follow the other,” Sears said, ignoring scientific data showing the Covid vaccine prevents hospitalizations and deaths.

“Let me ask you this question: If you have the mask on, then why does somebody else have to wear the mask?” Sears continued.

Health experts have said people who have tested positive for Covid will have some antibody protection, but those antibodies will fade away over time. People who’ve tested positive for Covid should still get the vaccine for that reason, according to experts, and evidence shows that people may receive better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having recovered from Covid-19.

Scientists also have said universal masking for people in close proximity can reduce Covid transmission significantly, more so than when some people or nobody is wearing masks. Studies show that masks can help prevent people from spreading the coronavirus to others and may help protect the wearer from becoming infected themselves.

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