Since the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, there has been an ongoing national debate regarding whether inoculations should be mandatory in certain situations as well as whether such mandates should be implied at the federal, state, or local level.
In the latest Biden administration statement on the matter, White House press secretary Jen Psaki made it clear that President Joe Biden has no plans to impose a federal vaccine requirement — but fully supports local governments and private entities that choose to implement their own mandates.
“There should be more mandates”
Psaki’s remarks came in response to a question from Fox News Channel correspondent Peter Doocy, who referenced recent public statements on the matter. Specifically, he cited Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, who called for more local-level vaccination mandates as a tool to halt the global pandemic.
Fauci appeared on CNN’s State of the Union and host Jake Tapper asked if he believed vaccine mandates from businesses and schools were worthwhile.
“I have been of this opinion and I remain of that opinion that I do believe at the local level, Jake, there should be more mandates, there really should be,” Fauci replied. “We’re talking about life and death situation. We’ve lost 600,000 Americans already, and we’re still losing more people. There’ve been 4 million deaths worldwide. This is serious business.”
He went on to acknowledge that one driver of vaccine hesitancy is the fact that the options available are covered only by an emergency-use authorization, predicting that there will be “a lot more mandates” when the vaccines reach full approval.
Doocy quoted Fauci’s remarks in his question to Psaki, asking if Biden agreed with what his top medical adviser said.
“That is not our intention”
With regard to a federal mandate, Psaki responded: “That’s not a decision that we are making. That’s not a — that is not our intention from the federal government.”
Nevertheless, she conceded that “private-sector entities” will have to make their own decisions about whether to institute any type of vaccine requirement.
“If they decide to make that decision, we certainly support them in that step,” Psaki added.
As for her take on Fauci’s remarks, she claimed that what he “was conveying is that there will be decisions made by local leaders, just like there will be decisions made by business leaders, on how they can keep their communities safe, and we support their right to make those decisions.”
While Biden might not issue a federal vaccine mandate for all Americans, he appears to have no problem allowing — and even supporting — such declarations from local governments and private institutions.