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Idaho governor asks people to get COVID-19 vaccine. Lt. Gov. calls that ‘shameful’

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Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin announces run for Idaho governor

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin announces she will run for Idaho governor at the Downtown Event Center in Idaho Falls on May 19.

BOISE — With COVID-19 cases continuing to spike in Idaho, Gov. Brad Little outlined the state’s increasingly dire situation as Idaho nears the activation of crisis standards of care. Little said Tuesday he was deploying members of the National Guard to help strained Idaho hospitals.

For the public, Little said one way to help would be getting a COVID-19 vaccine. “It is our ticket out of the pandemic,” Little said.

Just minutes after Little made his plea, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin called his suggestion “shameful.”

“It was shameful for Brad to suggest today that Idahoans must make a specific medical choice in order to show love for their neighbors,” McGeachin said in a tweet. “I trust YOU to make your own health choices.”

McGeachin — who is running to unseat Little and win the Republican gubernatorial nomination — is one of several Gem State political figures to oppose the mandating of COVID-19 vaccines. Idaho does not have a vaccine mandate.

Earlier this summer, McGeachin asked hospitals to suspend their coronavirus vaccine mandates. St. Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus health systems, two of the largest in Idaho, announced in July that all staff must get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The issue at hand is a matter of individual liberty and freedom,” McGeachin said in July. “Those who have made the personal medical choice not to take this vaccine deserve to have their decisions respected.”

As of Tuesday, around 48.6% of Idahoans age 12 and older were fully vaccinated, according to statistics from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Health officials say there have been 2,331 COVID-19-related deaths in Idaho.

Little called upon Idahoans’ sense of community in his request for an increased vaccination rate.

“There are many of our family members, neighbors and friends who are on the fence about getting the vaccine or have just been putting it off,” Little said. “To those Idahoans, the time to receive the vaccine is now. As Idahoans, we pride ourselves on our independent spirit, a quality that defines our way of life. We are also a state made up of people who support each other. I wish everyone could’ve seen what I saw in the ICU last night. Please choose to receive the vaccine now to support your fellow Idahoans who need you. Please choose to receive the vaccine to protect lives, help our exhausted medical staff, keep health care access available to all of us and keep our workforce healthy and keep our kids in school.”

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