Following a litany of tweets questioning local and federal health officials on guidelines and requirements, Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) voiced his opposition to mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for students in the 25th Congressional District in a Thursday tweet.
“I will actively and publicly campaign against any local school board member within CA-25 district lines who votes to support mandatory Covid vaccines for our kids,” he said through his campaign account.
Garcia’s tweet shared a link to a Los Angeles Times story reporting on Wednesday that the Culver City Unified School District issued a vaccine requirement “for all eligible students – believed to be the first such requirement in California,” the story opens.
Garcia’s Santa Clarita office responded to multiple requests for comment, however any clarification addressing the tweet was not returned from there or his Washington, D.C., office in the hours between the initial request and this story’s publication.
At present, Santa Clarita Valley school districts have no vaccine requirements in place for students. The Los Angeles Unified School District announced on Aug. 13 that all teachers and staff are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 15 or submit to weekly testing.
Comments to the tweet questioned his opposition. One tweet asked if opposing mandatory vaccinations was “a politically smart position to take in CA-25?”
“Why are you so much more concerned by the vaccine that’s saving lives than the disease that’s killed 625,000 Americans since last year?” Santa Clarita resident Mike Devlin asked.
Garcia’s tweet followed another from his official congressional account where he met virtually with L.A. County Department of Public Health director Barbara Ferrer to discuss why new orders were being put in place in response to the rise in COVID-19 cases linked to plateaued vaccination rates and the Delta variant.
“We need to balance how much power we give to health care officials making these unwarranted mandates,” the tweet concluded.
He followed the tweet to add that he received his vaccine following consultation from his doctor and that he “will continue to advocate for individual choice and support our local business community. No government entity should mandate the vaccine.”
In a thread of tweets posted on Wednesday, the congressman called upon the Los Angeles County and Ventura County Boards of Supervisors to “not rely solely on the inputs of the public health officials.”
“Their perspective is myopic and doesn’t account for the mental health, economic health and overall condition of our nation that suffers as a result of mask and vaccine mandates,” he continued.
He went on to blame unnamed “elected officials” for giving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an unnamed “county level” public health department “too much authority and power” and for not caring “enough about the impacts on business owners, workers, parents, children and our constitution.”
At the end of the thread, Garcia “encourage[d] everyone to have a discussion with their doctors about the vaccine. Get the facts from medical professionals, not social media or word of mouth.”
Thursday’s tweet was posted less than 12 hours before the L.A. County Department of Public Health’s modified order requiring residents to wear masks at all outdoor events goes into effect.
The L.A. County Department of Public Health reported on Thursday 3,239 new COVID-19 cases and 34 new deaths, with 1,790 current hospitalizations. After 35 new deaths were reported on Thursday, the total number of COVID-19 deaths went up to 25,002 in L.A. County. At least 63% of county residents are fully vaccinated.
“These increases (in cases, hospitalizations and deaths) do remind us that the virus continues to cause debilitating and dangerous illness among many who are infected, and the losses we suffer now are particularly sad because almost all of them are preventable with an extremely safe and widely available vaccine,” Ferrer said during a briefing Thursday.
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