CDC chief clarifies vaccine comments: ‘There will be no nationwide mandate’

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday “there will be no nationwide mandate” for the COVID-19 vaccine, clarifying comments she made about the administration looking into such a mandate.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky clarified remarks she made during an interview on Fox News when she told host Bret Baier that the Biden administration was “looking into” a federal vaccine mandate after being asked if she supported such a step.

Earlier on Friday, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters “a national vaccine requirement is not under consideration at this time.”

“You know, that’s something that I think the administration was looking into. It’s something that I think we’re looking to see approval of from the vaccine,” Walensky said on Fox.

“Overall, I think in general I am all for more vaccination. But, you know — I have nothing further to say on that except that we’re looking into those policies. And, quite honestly as people were doing that locally, those are individual local decisions as well,” she continued.

Walensky later clarified that she was referring to mandates by private institutions and parts of the federal government.

“There will be no nationwide mandate. I was referring to mandates by private institutions and portions of the federal government. There will be no federal mandate,” Walensky tweeted

The White House on Saturday referred The Hill to Walensky’s tweet. The CDC did not immediately return a request for comment.

The CDC head’s declaration that there will be no federal vaccine mandate comes as discussions of vaccine mandates have accelerated due to an increase in coronavirus infections fueled by the delta variant. 

President Biden has directed federal employees and onsite contractors to show that they are vaccinated or submit to weekly virus testing. The president said Thursday that he’d like to see private companies and state governments mandate vaccinations, as well.

New York City, California and a handful of private companies have introduced vaccine mandates in recent weeks.

– Updated: July 31 at 9:45 a.m.

Tags COVID-19 vaccine Joe Biden Karine Jean-Pierre Rochelle Walensky United States responses to the COVID-19 pandemic vaccine mandate
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