Despite worker shortages across the economy, including in the health care industry, Joe Biden says Americans working in “some industries and some schools” must reach a vaccination rate of either 97% or 98% in remarks he made while getting his third Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine dose, now described as a booster.
Immediately after Biden received the vaccine, a reporter asked the 78-year-old, “How many Americans need to be vaccinated for us to go back to normal?” Biden offered a meandering supply that some have interpreted as a declaration that 98% of the population must become vaccinated, though it seems as though Biden may have been referring to industries like healthcare as well as an unspecified subsection of “schools.”
This is the exact transcription of Biden’s statement: “Well I think, look, I think we get the vast majority at this point on, some of the, some industries and some schools, 97, 98%, I think we’ll get awful close, and uh, but I’m not the scientist, but one thing for sure, a quarter of the country can’t go unvaccinated. That’s not, continue to have a problem.”
It is unclear which “industries” Biden refers to, or what “schools” should require vaccination. Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is not available to children younger than 12. Many colleges, however, require students to accept one of the vaccines or pay for a costly regimen of COVID-19 tests to prove their health.
Biden made the remarks immediately after receiving his third dose of the Pfizer vaccine, which is expected to last about five months before losing efficacy. Israel has already instructed its population to prepare for an eventual fourth dose of the Pfizer vaccine, with more boosters likely to be required so long as COVID-19 exists. Those who do not receive the boosters will have their COVID-19 vaccine passports revoked.
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