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Senator Mitch McConnell pushes importance of COVID vaccine during EKU visit

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Posted at 5:00 PM, Aug 18, 2021

RICHMOND, Ky. (LEX 18) — "Vaccines. Vaccines. Vaccines," pressed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at Eastern Kentucky University on Wednesday.

That is the same message he's been pushing from the start of the country's vaccination effort.

"I think for everyone who is eligible, vaccines, vaccines, vaccines are the solution to the problem," McConnell said.

However, there are still people in Kentucky who have not been vaccinated, and that hesitancy perplexes McConnell.

"It never occurred to me that people might be reluctant to get vaccinated," he said.

So, McConnell urged those people to ignore the opinions and focus on the facts.

"Let's get out of the opinion business. Let's put the opinion business aside," McConnell said. "97% of the people in the hospital now - in Kentucky and around the country - are unvaccinated. That's not opinion. That's a fact."

As McConnell urged people to get vaccinated, Kentucky's COVID cases continue to multiply. On Tuesday, Governor Andy Beshear said Kentucky is "rapidly approaching critical" in terms of its COVID-19 situation.

However, at the same time, there's a heated debate over masks in schools. Parents are fighting over the school mask mandates.

Some parents want the decision to mask their child to be left up to them. Others want masks to be required because many kids cannot be vaccinated yet.

LEX 18 asked McConnell about the situation and he said he's going to leave the decisions on masks up to Governor Beshear.

"With regard to public health, safety issues like that - the masking issue that you raise - I'm going to leave that up to the governor," said McConnell. "That's part of his portfolio and not mine."

When LEX 18 asked McConnell if he would support a future mask mandate for Kentucky, he said he's going to follow the rules put into place.

"I'm going to follow the rules in Kentucky when I'm in Kentucky. For example, where we are today, we were all told to wear a mask. I did," said McConnell.

"I'm not going to second guess [Beshear] on that issue," added McConnell. "That's his job and not mine."