WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to reports, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said during a CNN interview on Thursday that the government has an absolute right to know if American citizens have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or not.
When asked about a “door-to-door” campaign planned by the Biden Administration to nudge unvaccinated Americans to get the jab, Becerra pointed out the extreme expense – to the tune of trillions of dollars – that the government has put into keeping people alive throughout the pandemic.
“So it is absolutely the government’s business, it is taxpayers’ business, if we have to continue to spend money to try to keep people from contracting COVID and helping re-open the economy,” he said to CNN anchor Brianna Keilar.
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The door-to-door campaign is planned for less vaccinated pockets of the country, and aims to inform people where to get the shot and to address safety concerns and misinformation about the vaccines. The Biden Administration is reportedly especially concerned over the more contagious Delta variant of the virus causing potential COVID-19 surges in these regions.
Currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 56 percent of U.S. adults have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 67 percent have received the initial dose but still need to have the second.
Becerra said that people wouldn’t be required to answer the door if an officials comes knocking, but added that he hoped they would, since they would be provided with information that may save their lives.
Polls show that areas that have a majority of Republican voters have lower rates of vaccination when compared to areas more populated by Democrats; many people see the choice to vaccinate or not as an issue of personal freedom, while others feel that being inoculated against COVID-19 is a civic duty that will keep people safe and allow the economy to continue to re-open. Becerra’s comments during the interview were widely criticized, and he attempted to clarify his meaning later in the day on Twitter.
“Some comments I made today are being taken wildly out of context,” he said. “To be clear: government has no database tracking who is vaccinated. We’re encouraging people to step up to protect themselves, others by getting vaccinated. It’s the best way to save lives and end this pandemic.”