Anthony S. Fauci — director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Biden’s chief medical adviser — said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Tuesday that he supported decisions by schools and colleges to require the Covid-19 vaccine, as classes begin amid a rise in coronavirus cases.
“This is very serious business,” Fauci told Willie Geist, the program’s co-host. “You would wish that people would see why it’s so important to get vaccinated. But you’re not going to get mandates centrally from the federal government. But when you’re talking about local mandates, mandates for schools, for teachers, for universities, for colleges — I’m sorry, I mean I know that people must like to have their individual freedom and not be told to do something, but I think we’re in such a serious situation now that I think in certain circumstances, mandates should be done.”
As of this writing, 681 institutions of higher learning have announced vaccine requirements for at least some students or employees. Those institutions are mostly in the Northeast and on the West Coast, and tend to be located in states that voted for Biden in the 2020 election. Some colleges have indicated they will impose a vaccination requirement once the vaccines, currently being used under emergency procedures, gain full approval from the Food and Drug Administration; on Morning Joe, Fauci said there’s “no doubt” the vaccines would get full FDA approval.
“When that occurs, which I hope will be really quite soon,” Fauci said, “I think you’re going to see that local institutions, local enterprises are going to feel empowered — and appropriately so, they’re not worried about getting sued or anything — that they’re going to be saying that if you want to go to this university or you want to go to this college, you’ve got to be vaccinated.”