- President Joe Biden outlined a broad plan Thursday to increase Covid vaccination rates in the U.S.
- "I know they're seen as mandates, I see them as absolutely essential for creating safe work environments,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health.
- Jha emphasized that the reason kids get infected is that the adults around them are unvaccinated, and reiterated that the most important thing we can do to protect kids is to get adults vaccinated.
"People don't want to change jobs, people don't want to be inconvenienced," said Jha on CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith."
"I do think a vast majority of people who are unvaccinated will end up getting vaccinated with these things. I know they're seen as mandates, I see them as absolutely essential for creating safe work environments."
Biden announced Thursday that the Department of Labor will work to declare an emergency rule that requires all employers with more than 100 workers to ensure their workforce is either fully vaccinated or tested at least once a week. The new requirement will impact as many as 80 million Americans.
The president also mandated that roughly 17 million workers at healthcare facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid to be fully vaccinated. Additionally, all federal employees and contractors who do business with the executive branch must now be fully vaccinated. Previously, federal workers had a choice of undergoing regular testing instead of getting vaccinated.
Jha told host Shepard Smith that he, "would not want to be in an enclosed office with a bunch of unvaccinated people, I think that would be unnecessarily dangerous."
Despite the administration's nationwide push for Covid vaccinations, just over 176 million Americans, or 53.3% of the total population, are fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also released new data showing a 10-fold increase in hospitalizations among U.S. children and adolescents since the rise of the delta variant.
Jha emphasized that the reason kids get infected is that the adults around them are unvaccinated, and reiterated that the most important thing we can do to protect kids is to get adults vaccinated.
"If you look at kids under 12, obviously no one under 12 is vaccinated, and yet, infection rates and hospitalization rates are 10 times higher in Florida than they are in Massachusetts," said Jha. "That's not because those kids are vaccinated, that's because the adults around them are vaccinated, so as more vaccinations happen, as infection numbers come down, I expect kids to benefit from that."