Anthony Fauci on Sunday advocated for more mandates at the local level for businesses and schools to require Covid-19 vaccinations.
“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,” Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.” “There really should be. We’re talking about life-and-death situation. We have lost 600,000 Americans already.”
The nation’s top infectious disease expert noted the disparity between vaccination rates in GOP vs. Democratic-led states, with surveys showing Democrats are far more likely to be vaccinated. Republican lawmakers in nearly 40 states have also recently backed bills to restrict Covid-19 vaccine mandates or vaccine passports, which public health experts, such as Fauci, have said will make it harder to end the pandemic.
“There’s no reason not to get vaccinated. Why are we having red states and places in the South, that are very highly ideological in one way, not wanting to get vaccinations? Vaccinations have nothing to do with politics. It’s a public health issue,” he said.
Fauci said he believes there is some hesitancy of vaccine requirements on the local level because the coronavirus vaccines have not yet been fully approved by the FDA, but instead were authorized for emergency use by the agency. “I think when you do see the official approval, Jake, you’re going to see a lot more mandates,” he said.
In April, Fauci told the POLITICO Dispatch podcast that the federal government would not require vaccine passports to show proof of Covid-19 vaccinations for travelers or businesses, but that he expected businesses and schools might require them.
“I’m not saying that they should or that they would, but I’m saying you could foresee how an independent entity might say, ‘Well, we can’t be dealing with you unless we know you’re vaccinated,’ but it’s not going to be mandated from the federal government,” Fauci said on the podcast April 5.
The Biden administration reiterated this week that it has no plans to issue a federal mandate for schools, businesses or states to require the vaccine.
The public remains split on the issue. A new POLITICO-Harvard survey showed that Americans are sharply divided along party lines on whether schools or most private employers should require coronavirus vaccinations, with Democrats supporting a government-issued document certifying their vaccination status, and Republicans opposing the government or most businesses mandating a vaccine passport of any kind.