Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on Sunday slammed ABC News host Martha Raddatz for hinting that the federal government is considering implementing vaccine passports. According to Walensky, vaccines are allowing the country to move forward from the COVID pandemic, which is why masks were always temporary.
“You said on Friday that the CDC is ’empowering people to make their own decisions about their own health’ but this is all on the honor system,” Raddatz said. “There are people who refuse to get vaccinated, about a quarter of the country, and who oppose mask-wearing, who could see this as a green light to go wherever they want, putting others at risk, especially in those indoor settings, including children and the immunocompromised.”
According to Walensky, the CDC guidance hasn’t changed for those who are unvaccinated. She indicated those who are unvaccinated, including young children and the immunocompromised, should continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing.
“If they are vaccinated, they are safe. If they are not vaccinated, they are not safe,” the CDC director stated. “They should still be wearing a mask or, better yet, get vaccinated.”
Pressed on the challenges in enforcing new mask guidelines, CDC Dir. Walensky says: "This is not permission for widespread removal of masks… these decisions have to be made at the jurisdictional level, at the community level." https://t.co/wbEM2Uitmk pic.twitter.com/gLIkZl1tdt
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 16, 2021
The CDC director indicated the agency is encouraging businesses to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated.
“But COVID is still undeniably still a threat and CDC has consistently shown us scientific evidence that says you are much safer if two people in a room have masks on. So, if you are unvaccinated in that room and someone else comes in without a mask, you’re not as safe,” Raddatz said.
Walensky indicated yet again that those who are unvaccinated should receive their shots but recognized there’s a “challenge” because not everyone is “eligible,” including children under the age of 11.
“So, if you’re unvaccinated, we’re saying wear a mask, continue to distance if you’re unvaccinated, practice all of those mitigation strategies,” Walensky said.
“But who is supposed to be the vaccination police?” Raddatz interjected. “You look at Costco and Walmart, these essential workers. What are they supposed to do? Again, there’s a quarter of the country who says they will not get vaccinated.”
“We are asking people to take their health into their own hands, to get vaccinated. And, if they don’t, they continue to be at risk,” the CDC director replied. “For the unvaccinated, our policy has not changed. We were going to get to a place in this pandemic where vaccinated people were going to be able to take off their mask. We’re lucky to be there with the science that we have. And now we have to take this foundational step that is completely based in science and understand what it means as we open the entire country.”
.@martharaddatz: "Who is supposed to be the 'vaccination police'… what are they supposed to do?"
CDC Dir. Walensky: "We are asking people to take their health into their own hands, to get vaccinated and if they don't they continue to be at risk." https://t.co/wbEM2Uitmk pic.twitter.com/FQKwQFP8UU
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 16, 2021
Raddatz’s question about “vaccination police” mimics a statement from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), a union that represents more than 1.3 million retail and grocery store employees.
UFCW International President Marc Peronne asked the same question Raddatz did:
“While we all share the desire to return to a mask-free normal, today’s CDC guidance is confusing and fails to consider how it will impact essential workers who face frequent exposure to individuals who are not vaccinated and refuse to wear masks.
“Millions of Americans are doing the right thing and getting vaccinated, but essential workers are still forced to play mask police for shoppers who are unvaccinated and refuse to follow local COVID safety measures. Are they now supposed to become the vaccination police?
“With so many states already ending their mask mandates, this new CDC guidance must do more to acknowledge the real and daily challenge these workers and the American people still face.
“Vaccinations are helping us take control of this pandemic, but we must not let our guard down. As one of America’s largest unions for essential workers, UFCW is calling on the CDC and our nation’s leaders to clarify how this new policy will be implemented, how essential workers will be protected, and how these workers will protect the communities they serve.”
The UFCW is pushing the CDC and the Biden administration to back vaccine passports, something conservatives have warned about. A handful of states have outlawed vaccine passports from being used to screen Americans before they enter a place of business. The Biden administration, however, is reportedly working on a mobile app that will house Americans’ proof of vaccination, which some businesses — and states — could potentially require.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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