A White House reporter asked press secretary Jen Psaki Wednesday why President Biden hasn’t focused more on “scolding” unvaccinated Americans.
Citing the approach of French President Emmanuel Macron, who raised eyebrows this week when he said he intended to “piss off” unvaccinated people in his country, Politico’s Daniel Lippman wondered if Biden would employ a sharper approach to those who remain unvaccinated.
“Since there are millions of Americans who have not been persuaded by the various government campaigns to get vaccinated, why hasn’t the president focused more on scolding the unvaccinated to try to tell them, hey, this is not working for society, we keep getting these shutdowns,” he said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 5, 2022. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
Psaki didn’t address the notion of Biden scolding Americans, instead pointing to stats showing a vast majority of American adults have gotten at least one shot of coronavirus vaccine, with 70 percent of adults considered “fully vaccinated.” That definition could change as the Biden administration pushes more people to get “boosted.”
“Our objective has been to continue to convey to the American people the fact that getting vaccinated will help protect them from hospitalization, from death,” she said. “Obviously, the French will make their own decisions about the most effective way to communicate with their public.”
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team on the latest developments related to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the South Court Auditorium at the White House complex in Washington, U.S., January 4, 2022. (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)
Asked if the administration would adjust its vaccine messaging – at one point, Biden appeared in a TikTok video with the Jonas Brothers – Psaki said the approach would continue to be looking for trusted messengers.
While Biden has repeatedly touted the efficacy of vaccines in protecting Americans from severe outcomes, he has also had sharp words for those electing not to get vaccinated, insisting this week this “continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
“There is no excuse — no excuse for anyone being unvaccinated,” Biden said during remarks from the White House following a briefing from his COVID-19 response team. “This continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated. So we got to make more progress.”
Erick Ramos, of Tacoma, uses a nose swab at a drive-up COVID-19 testing clinic, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, in Puyallup, Wash., south of Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Last month, the White House said the unvaccinated faced a “winter of severe illness and death.” The country has again been gripped by a coronavirus surge, setting new records in cases, although the omicron variant has proven to be milder than previous strains of the virus.
While the omicron variant has led to a large increase in breakthrough cases among vaccinated individuals, the vast majority of severe coronavirus outcomes continue to be among those who are unvaccinated.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Keith Koffler contributed to this report.