CNN's Dr. Leana Wen: Vaccine Mandates, Proof Of Vaccination "Will Have To Come" | Video | RealClearPolitics

CNN's Dr. Leana Wen: Vaccine Mandates, Proof Of Vaccination "Will Have To Come"

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CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen said that while the CDC has done a good job following the "physical science" on requiring mask-wearing and encouraging the COVID-19 vaccine, they have not considered the "social science and people's behaviors."

She suggested that requiring proof of vaccinations to enter grocery stores, restaurants, and concert venues -- and eventually "vaccine mandates" -- will "have to come."

"If you're going to the grocery store and the grocery store doesn't have the capacity to enforce some kind of proof of vaccination, then they have to say that indoor masking needs to apply because we don't know who is vaccinated and who is not," she said.


"Same thing for schools," she said. "You can't expect the teacher in every school to be asking, well, you're not wearing a mask, so are you vaccinated or not?"

CNN HOST: I remember in May when the CDC made that decision [to stop recommending mask-wearing at all times for the vaccinated], people felt -- they had no idea this was coming and it came. And part of the incentive for it was to incentivize more people to get vaccinated, like here's the reward if you get vaccinated. You can lose the mask.

With 50% of the country still not vaccinated, could a result in part of this be another disincentive for people to get vaccinated? Do they need to weigh those things?

DR. LEANA WEN: I definitely think that the Biden administration should be thinking about these things. This is the reason why it should not just be a decision of the CDC. Part of the problem, I think, is that the Biden administration has been equating following the science with listening to one scientific institution, when actually the implication is not just about the actual data and the physical science. It's also about social science, and people's behaviors, that what's likely to come as a result of them.

The CDC in the first place made the right decision when it comes to the science, but they didn't take into account human behavior. I think there is something -- there is one thing the Biden administration could be doing right now that would change the equation when it comes to incentives, and that's to use proof of vaccination. If they could say, get the vaccine, you have a proof of vaccination, you can take off your mask. That would be really key. I also think vaccine mandates are something that will have to come.

CNN HOST: Can we play that out? So that would mean -- I went to a restaurant the other week that wanted to see my vaccination proof to sit down. I can see it happening in restaurants. It would be much harder if you're walking into any public building or supermarket or shopping mall or just being with people at a house party, things like that. How does proof of vaccination work in all group circumstances?

DR. LEANA WEN: Right, I think it depends on the circumstance. So if you're going to the grocery store and the grocery store doesn't have the capacity to enforce some kind of proof of vaccination, then they have to say that indoor masking needs to apply because we don't know who is vaccinated and who is not. Same for schools. You can't expect the teacher in every school to be asking, well, you're not wearing a mask, so are you vaccinated or not? If that's the case everybody should be wearing masks.

I could imagine there are already concert venues or workplaces that are saying if you are not vaccinated, you can't come, or you have to get a negative test. And that's what's needed in order to really incentivize vaccines at this point.

CNN HOST: We just saw the Minneapolis Federal Reserve make that move.
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