During CNN’s coverage of President Joe Biden’s speech before Congress on Wednesday 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 Biden “missed the biggest opportunity he’s had yet of overcoming vaccine hesitancy” because his speech “looked like it happened in late 2020, several months ago, before we had the vaccines.”
Wen said that Biden’s rhetoric in the speech about vaccines was good, but “I also do think that the president missed the biggest opportunity he’s had yet of overcoming vaccine hesitancy. Imagine if he had said everybody attending has to be fully vaccinated, at the moment they come to the door, they show their proof of vaccination, they can take off their masks. They can hug one another. They can sit close together. I think that would have been such a powerful demonstration of how safe and effective the vaccines are and how that’s what it takes for us to return to pre-pandemic normal. And instead, I do fear that what happened today looked like it happened in late 2020, several months ago, before we had the vaccines. And I think it’s going to perpetuate this narrative of, what’s in it for me? What’s the purpose of getting vaccinated if nothing changes?”
Wen also addressed school closures, which she said have been very harmful. She stated that former President Trump deserves most of the blame for not investing in schools so they could re-open and stay open and also having high rates of community spread that kept schools from re-opening, and the Biden team could have done more to vaccinate teachers earlier.
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