CNN’s Dr. Wen: Biden Team’s Restrictive Guidelines on Post-Vaccine Life Are Causing Hesitancy

On Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “AC360,” CNN Medical Analyst, ER physician, Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University Visiting Professor, and former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen stated that sending a message that “once you are fully vaccinated, that’s the end of the road for you. And so, at that point, you’re able to take off your mask outside, you’re able to go about enjoying many aspects of pre-pandemic life” will be “key to overcoming vaccine hesitancy.” And that the cautiousness of the Biden administration is coming at the price of people not wanting to get vaccinated.

Wen said that the Biden administration has been too slow on guidelines for vaccinated people, and “I understand that the Biden team wants to be cautious, but caution comes at a price. And that price is that people are saying, well, what’s the point of getting vaccinated if not that much changes for me? I think what the Biden administration has been doing is to say, here’s what we, as a society should do, as in, once we reach a certain level of vaccination in the society, once the infection level decreases, we’ll lift restrictions for everyone. But I think they’re discounting that many Americans want to know, what’s in it for me? They don’t want to wait until everyone gets to some elusive herd immunity. I think it’ll be a lot more effective if we say, once you are fully vaccinated, that’s the end of the road for you. And so, at that point, you’re able to take off your mask outside, you’re able to go about enjoying many aspects of pre-pandemic life. I think that is going to be key to overcoming vaccine hesitancy.”

She added, “I also think that we can do a lot more with specifically incentivizing vaccination, including allowing businesses to come back at full capacity if they’re checking for proof of vaccination.”

Wen further stated, “I think the key, at this point, Anderson, is that we have to think about reducing risk, not eliminating risk. Because we’re just not going to be able to live like that. … I think we can tell people, here are all these activities that once were high-risk, get vaccinated, they are now lower risk. But once you get vaccinated, go and do things. We encourage you to do things like travel. We want you to do it safely, but please go see your friends and family. I think that kind of message will have a lot more resonance than, here are all the things you can’t do even if you’re fully vaccinated.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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