TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is encouraging Kansans to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The gubernatorial candidate said that he and his family are vaccinated and he encourages others to do so as well.

Currently, more than half of Kansans are vaccinated, and around a third of those people have received their booster shot. Schmidt said he wishes those numbers were higher but he doesn’t believe in vaccine mandates.

“I do think that the heavy-handed approach from especially the federal government on vaccine mandates has probably contributed to the somewhat lower vaccination rates than we prefer,” Schmidt said. “There are a lot of independent-minded people in this world, especially in Kansas, whose reaction when they are told they must do something by a distant government in Washington DC is often to react just the opposite.”

As Kansas Attorney General, Schmidt has sued the Biden Administration over federal vaccine mandates. Instead, he said leaders should talk with people individually. He also said the state should get trusted people like community and religious leaders to show people why vaccination is a good choice for many people.

This weekend, Schmidt said he encourages people to be safe and use mitigation measures like hand washing, mask-wearing and social distancing. However, he said we need to learn to move forward and not live in fear of the virus.