President Biden predicted, “a more aggressive effort” within his administration to increase the “desire” to get vaccinated by relaxing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on what fully vaccinated people can do safely.
Biden made the remarks during a meeting with a bipartisan group of governors on Tuesday.
“Getting vaccinated is the way to get back to doing the things we all love,” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said. “One area where we could use some help from the White House and others is modeling what a fully vaccinated person can do.”
“We have fully vaccinated people, we should start acting like it,” the GOP governor told Biden. “That’s a big motivation to get the unvaccinated to get vaccinated.”
“That’s a good point,” the president responded.
“We’re just getting there now, to the degree that I think you’re going to see a more aggressive effort on our part to lay out that once vaccinated, it’s not only you can hug your grandchildren, you can do a lot more, and whether or not you have to have even at some point soon mask inside versus outside,” Biden continued.
“We’ve gone a little slower to make sure we’re exactly right,” the president admitted. “I think you’re right about it would increase the prospects of the desire to get vaccinated.”
Over 35% of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated and over 46% has received at least one dose. Around 84% of those who are 65 or older are fully vaccinated.
Even moderate Republicans have grown increasingly frustrated with CDC guidance they see as overly cautious in the face of a swelling population that is inoculated against COVID-19.
The CDC updated its mask guidance last month to say that fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks outside. The agency said vaccinated people should still wear masks in public settings and when gathering in private with unvaccinated people from multiple households.
Also on Tuesday, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, grilled CDC Director Rochelle Walensky during a Senate Health Committee hearing on “conflicting” guidance related to school reopenings, wearing masks outside and summer camps.
“I used to have the utmost respect for the guidance from the CDC. I always considered the CDC to be the gold standard. I don’t anymore,” Collins said, giving examples where she said she thinks “the conflicting, confusing guidance from your agency has undermined public confidence and contradicts the scientific guidance of many experts.”
“Unnecessary barriers to reopening schools, exaggerating the risk of outdoor transmission and unworkable restrictions on summer camps,” Collins continued. “Why does this matter?”
“It matters because it undermines public confidence in your recommendations, in the recommendations that do make sense, in the recommendations that Americans should be following.”
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the country is at a point now to significantly loosen restrictions.