Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Pete Snyder blames Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam for the state’s slow coronavirus vaccine rollout, he told host Alex Marlow Friday on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily.
Snyder referenced Virginia landing in dead last out of 50 states in vaccine distribution, a ranking the Old Dominion reportedly received in Becker’s Hospital Review at the end of January. The Chatham Star-Tribune reported Virginia hit 50th place on January 25, and Becker’s archives from later that same week show Virginia hovering in 49th place.
“In Virginia we have a horrible, horrible mess on our hands,” Snyder said. “We’ve had a governor who has been completely — even though he’s the only physician governor — during the coronavirus crisis, Virginia ranked 50th out of 50 states when it came to the distribution of this vaccine.”
Snyder suggested Northam’s initial doubt in former President Donald Trump, who promised his administration would roll out vaccines through Operation Warp Speed by the end of 2020, contributed to Virginia’s low ranking.
“The Virginia governor went on CNN and said, ‘Oh, nope, there that Donald Trump goes. He’s not telling the truth. I’m a doctor, and there’s no way you can have a vaccine within a year,’” Snyder said. “Our governor not only bet against American ingenuity, he sat on his hands and did absolutely nothing. So they had no plan for the vaccine distribution because they didn’t expect there to ever be one.”
After Becker’s revealed Virginia’s low ranking, Northam held a press conference in which he discussed his state’s plan to accelerate vaccine distribution and said, “I feel the frustration out there, I also as a medical provider feel the urgency … At the end of the day, as the governor of Virginia, I’m responsible, so the criticism is fair.” Virginia has since improved its distribution pace, and as of Friday, ranks 14th in the same distribution list.
Snyder also ripped into Northam for his health department changing the name of one of its 35 health districts from “Thomas Jefferson” to “Blue Ridge” at the start of this year, a move the district’s director called “symbolic of deeper work” to “acknowledge and address the impact of racism on health,” as local outlet ABC 8 reported.
“Our governor spent time and money during this pandemic, when he wasn’t cooking up a plan to distribute the vaccine, to change the name of our health district to the Blue Ridge health district because he thought Thomas Jefferson, our Founding Father, might offend people,” Snyder said. “This is the silliness and ridiculousness that is just destroying and eating away at our Commonwealth and our country. That’s how you get into 50th place, last place, in the country.”
Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the U.S. and primary author of the Declaration of Independence. The Blue Ridge health district formerly known as the “Thomas Jefferson” district includes Charlottesville, which is home to Monticello, the historic site of Jefferson’s primary residence and burial location.