National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins said the United States should adopt more COVID-19 vaccine mandates and said he supports private entities requiring the shots.
Collins, when asked about mandates during a Sunday interview, said that “I think we ought to use every public health tool we can when people are dying.”
“Well, that’s [an] obviously hot topic for me as a nonpolitical person, as a physician, as a scientist,” Collins told ABC News’ “This Week.” “The compelling case for vaccines for everybody is right there in front of you. Just look at the data. Certainly, I celebrate when I see businesses decide that they’re going to mandate that for their employees.”
His remarks come in the backdrop of large corporations and New York City imposing more stringent vaccine requirements in recent days. President Joe Biden, too, last month said that employees who are not vaccinated either must do so or face routine COVID-19 testing.
Collins praised Biden’s announcement on federal government workers needing to get vaccinated, claiming that getting routine testing would possibly push some of the employees into getting the shots.
“I am glad to see the president insisting that we go forward requiring vaccinations or, if people are unwilling to do that, then regular testing at least once or twice a week, which will be very inconvenient,” he said on Sunday.
Last week, meanwhile, Collins drew criticism after he suggested in another interview that fully vaccinated parents should wear masks in their own homes if unvaccinated children are present. Later on Twitter, he walked back his comments and said his message was incorrect.
“Let me clarify the masking message that I garbled on this morning [on CNN],” he wrote in a tweet on Aug. 3. “Vaccinated parents who live in communities with high COVID transmission rates should mask when out in public indoor settings to minimize risks to their unvaccinated kids. No need to mask at home.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced around the same time that restaurants, theaters, and gyms will require inoculation documentation as part of the city’s “Key to NYC Pass,” which launches Aug. 16. A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Health told The Epoch Times that after an evaluation period, other businesses may be targeted by the mandate as well.
Vaccine passports, in recent days, have been praised by top federal officials, including Biden, as a way to get people vaccinated. However, critics including the American Civil Liberties Union have said such systems would imperil individual liberty and the right to privacy.