Video source: YouTube, CNBC Television
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said there will be no nationwide mandate for Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, clarifying comments she made during a televised interview.
In a Twitter post on Friday, Walensky said, “I was referring to mandates by private institutions and portions of the federal government. There will be no federal mandate.”
Earlier in the day, when Fox News host Bret Baier asked, “Are you for mandating a vaccine on a federal level?”, Walensky replied, “That’s something that I think the administration is looking into. It’s something that I think we are looking to see approval of from the vaccine.”
“Overall, I think in general, I am all for more vaccination,” she said, "but I have nothing further to say on that except that we are looking into those policies.”
Walensky also said she understood the resistance a federal mandate would face from Americans who believe the decision to get vaccinated should be theirs to make.
“I understand both perspectives,” said Walensky, who added that some of the reluctance may be rooted in worry over side effects or a lack of understanding about immunity’s benefits.
Walensky stressed, however, that the coronavirus vaccine “is not unlike” vaccines for other diseases, like pertussis and polio, that are required by many schools and other institutions.
As of Saturday, only 164 million (49.5%) of Americans are fully vaccinated and 190 million (57.4%) have had at least one dose of a vaccine, according to CDC figures.
Despite missing its self-imposed July 4 deadline to have 70% of adults in the US fully vaccinated, President Joe Biden’s administration is continuing its push to increase vaccination levels.
On Thursday, the White House unveiled a series of new measures aimed at getting more shots in arms, which included $100 incentives for newly-vaccinated individuals and requirements for federal workers to get vaccinated or face regular testing.
Biden also directed the US Department of Defense to look into how and when it will add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccinations for military members.
Several large employers, including Walmart Inc, Walt Disney Company and Alphabet Inc’s Google, in addition to governments like the state of California and New York City, have introduced vaccine mandates in recent weeks.
"Every day, more businesses are implementing their own vaccine mandates," Biden said on Thursday. "The Justice Department has made it clear that it is legal to require COVID-19 vaccines. We all want our lives to get back to normal, and fully vaccinated workplaces will make that happen more quickly and more successfully. We all know that in our gut. With incentives and mandates, we can make a huge difference and save a lot of lives."
With the recent surge of cases attributed to the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, the pace of vaccinations in the US has picked up over the past three weeks, particularly in Southern states, where vaccination rates are low and hesitancy against the shot is high.
In the US, the overwhelmingly majority of serious cases — 97% of hospital admissions and 99.5% of virus-related deaths — are occurring among those who are not fully vaccinated.
Public health officials believe the stark contrast between how the virus impacts the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated has become clearer in recent weeks and may be convincing people on the fence to get a shot.
Source: Equities News