House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday the House can’t make someone receive the coronavirus vaccine and said knowing who has or hasn’t gotten vaccinated is private.
“We can’t require vaccinations for the members, much less for the American people,” Pelosi said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance on Tuesday, recommending that those who are completely vaccinated don’t have to wear masks while outside, unless “in certain crowded settings and venues.”
People are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after they received the last dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the CDC’s guidance.
“So, here’s the thing. We cannot require someone to be vaccinated. That is just not what we can do. It is a matter of privacy to know who is or who isn’t,” Pelosi said.
“I can’t go to the Capitol physician and say give me names of people who aren’t vaccinated so I can go encourage them or make it known to others to encourage them to be vaccinated,” Pelosi said. “So we can’t do that.”
Pelosi said she’s hopeful science will influence House members to receive the vaccine for their safety and for the safety of their colleagues and members of their families. The House speaker said “the sooner that that happens, the better for everything.” The majority of the measures surrounding President Joe Biden’s joint-session address Wednesday night concerned the virus, Pelosi said.
Pelosi said roughly 75% of House members have received the vaccine.
“It may be in the last few days some more, but I think it’s about 75%. But again, the physician cannot tell us, Democrats, Republicans or who, and that’s right. We should be respecting people’s privacy, but that’s approximately what it is,” Pelosi said.