President Joe Biden was unable to say Monday whether America could achieve herd immunity from the coronavirus, but urged everyone to get the vaccine anyway.
“I think by the end of the summer, we’ll be in a very different position than we are now,” Biden replied when asked by reporters about his thoughts on herd immunity during a visit to a community college on Monday.
The president and first lady visited Tidewater Community College in Virginia to promote his plan for free college education for low-income students.
“There’s debate for what constitutes as herd immunity,” Biden said. “Is it 70 percent of the population? Is it 68 percent? Is it 81 percent?”
But Biden pleaded with Americans over the age of 16 to get vaccinated anyway as soon as possible.
“My plea to everyone. Get vaccinated now. Please,” he said.
The New York Times sparked widespread discussion after publishing an article featuring health experts acknowledging that herd immunity from the coronavirus was increasingly unlikely due to emerging variants of the virus and slowing vaccination rates.
During the early days of the pandemic, federal health officials spoke about herd immunity as a goal for Americans but urged them to remain socially distanced while wearing masks in public to “slow the spread.”