W.H. COVID Adviser: ‘Complexity in the Detail’ on Whether Teachers Need to Be Vaccinated to Re-Open

On Thursday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” White House Senior Adviser on the COVID Response Andy Slavitt said he wishes there was “a one-word answer” to whether or not teachers need to be vaccinated in order for schools to re-open, “but there’s obviously complexity in the detail.”

Slavitt said, “I think what the CDC director believes is that every additional protective measure you take helps. So, vaccinations help, masks help, good ventilation helps. So — and if we were — and if we had an abundance of those tools, we would say everybody should do everything right now and then everybody would be as safe as possible. I think what she’s saying is, while we have a shortage, there are other ways to get there and to do it safely. That’s exactly the kind of detail she is going through painstakingly in this plan to say, what do you do if you have enough vaccines? What do you do if you don’t? How do you open? I think she’s trying to figure out how to get schools to yes under limited resources.”

Co-host Willie Geist then asked, “Well, her quote last week is, ‘safe re-opening does not suggest [that] teachers need to be vaccinated in order to re-open safely.’ Some of the teachers’ unions have said, we’re not going back to school unless our teachers are vaccinated. So, do they need to be vaccinated or not for schools to re-open?”

Slavitt responded, “I’m going to let her plan tomorrow speak to that. Because, as with everything, I wish there was a one-word answer, but there’s obviously complexity in the detail. That’s what the CDC does. The White House doesn’t want to be in the science business. We’re going to let them do that and then we’re going to try to implement it as — and help states implement it as quickly as they can.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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