President Joe Biden said Monday he wanted to get up to 98 percent of Americans vaccinated before the country could go back to normal.
The president was asked by reporters at the White House about what the vaccination rate had to be before the country could return to normal.
“Look, I think we get the vast majority — like is going on in so many – some industries and some schools — 96, 97, 98 percent,” Biden said.
Biden commented after getting and promoting a third coronavirus vaccine “booster” shot from Pfizer in front of the media.
The president noted approvingly that over 77 percent of adults had gotten at least one shot of the vaccine.
Biden’s goal is a much higher estimate than those previously voiced by federal health officials.
In February, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that about 70 percent to 85 percent of the population should be fully vaccinated before the country could go back to normal.
After the Delta variant of the virus emerged, Fauci and other federal officials have resisted setting a percentage goal, instead urging more Americans to get vaccinated.
“This is a very wily virus,” Fauci said in August. “If we keep lingering without getting those people vaccinated that should be vaccinated, this thing could linger on, leading to the development of another variant which could complicate things.“
Biden’s rate estimation is also sharply higher than vaccinations in Europe, where in some countries, restrictions have been lifted.
In Norway, officials lifted coronavirus restrictions last week after 76 percent of Norwegians have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Biden indicated that he would continue pushing more vaccine mandates to drive up vaccination rates.
“One thing for certain: A quarter of the country can’t go unvaccinated and us not continue to have a problem,” he said.
Biden again argued that the coronavirus pandemic was “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
“So, please, please do the right thing,” he said. “Please get the shots. And it can save your life.”
The president will travel to Chicago on Wednesday to promote more businesses enacting vaccine mandates.