Walensky: 'We're not counting on vaccine mandates at all'

Walensky: 'We're not counting on vaccine mandates at all'
© Greg Nash

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyFauci warns of 'localized surges' in areas with low vaccination rates The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden support, gas tax questions remain on infrastructure Overnight Health Care: Biden touts 300 million vaccine doses in 150 days | Biden warns of 'potentially deadlier' delta variant | Public option fades with little outcry from progressives MORE said on Sunday that the federal government is not "counting on vaccine mandates at all" after her agency released new guidance that said vaccinated people did not have wear masks.

"Meet the Press" host Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddChuck Todd reluctant to 'ban' election deniers from 'Meet the Press' Portman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Sanders against infrastructure deal with more gas taxes, electric vehicle fees MORE pressed Walensky on NBC about how the new guidance had been rolled out, questioning whether or not it had been rushed. He also asked Walensky how workers at businesses should react, wondering whether or not the government is depending on businesses to enforce vaccine mandates.

"We're not counting on vaccine mandates at all. It may very well be that local businesses, local jurisdictions will work toward vaccine mandates. That is going to be locally driven and not federally driven," Walensky responded.

Todd also asked Walensky if she is concerned that government would "never" be able to enact a potential mask-wearing recommendation in the future, now that it had released its new guidance.

"We were pretty clear when we lifted it that the science right now tells us that it is safe for vaccinated people to take off their masks," Walensky said. "We also said that this virus has given us many curve balls over the last 16 months. We've also said that the more circulating virus that we have, the more likely it is that variants will emerge."

The CDC director added that "variants are really something that we have to keep very close eye on," but affirmed that the current scientific data had shown that it is safe for vaccinated people to go without masks.