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Margaret Brennan On COVID Vaccine Hesitancy, Biden's Response To Surge At Southern Border

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Face The Nation host Margaret Brennan discusses the effort to overcome COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the U.S. and the surge of migrants at the southern border.

Video Transcript

- Rutgers University says all students will need to be fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus in order to return to campus in the fall, and it will not be mandatory for faculty and employees, although they will be strongly urged to get the shots. So we're beginning to see these kinds of plans now.

"Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan joins us from Washington tonight. Good to see you, Margaret, and the Biden administration says that there will be enough vaccine for the entire country by the end of May, but there's still a lot of hesitancy out there.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's right, and that's going to be their new challenge, frankly, is overcoming some of that remaining hesitancy, and that is something we will talk to Dr. Fauci about on Sunday when he joins us on "Face the Nation," what is the strategy exactly. Some of it has been to try to pump doses directly into community health centers, now it's also outreach to more familiar local doctors, or is it something that really should come through a public service announcement?

What is the strategy here? Because the areas that we're seeing hesitation are among self-identified Republicans under the age of 65, according to our latest CBS polling. There is still hesitation among some African-Americans, but that number really came down mid-January according to our latest CBS poll. So this is a shift, and it's an important part of this puzzle because to get to herd immunity, you need to get people to actually take the vaccine.

- Got to get more and more people on board. And Margaret, we know both Democratic and Republican lawmakers are visiting the southern border today. Border patrol says that it is seeing 5,000 migrants a day, including more than 500 unaccompanied minors. We're beginning to see these images, more photographs, which unfortunately we've begun to see for years now. This is such an intractable problem. What's the Biden administration trying to do to address it?

MARGARET BRENNAN: It is an intractable problem. That's a great way to phrase it, Paula, because this dogs every administration. Every president promises a widescale immigration reform and then they fail to deliver on it because it is just such a hard problem to solve. This immediate surge at the border is where there's a real focus on criticism. The latest numbers we just saw here at CBS are 18,000 unaccompanied children who are now in US facilities in US custody.

They've been allowed to stay on the US side of the border because of the Biden administration change in policy under COVID. Families who arrive are being expelled. That's in line with what the Trump administration was doing. But it's this broader question of what is the message that will dissuade people from coming in the first place. All we've heard is the long term strategy of pumping money into some of these troubled countries to try to keep people from making the trek in the first place.

But we know these numbers typically peak in May, so if you have such high numbers now and no sign of it stopping, the crisis is going to continue to build. We'll dig into this on Sunday with Congressman Cuellar of Laredo, Texas.

- We'll see you then. And from all of us at WBZ, Margaret, happy birthday.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

- Enjoy your birthday. Have a good weekend. You can watch Margaret on "Face the Nation," of course, Sunday morning at 10:30 on WBZ, but she's also filling in for Norah tonight on the CBS Evening news, so you'll see her. That starts at 6:30. David?

- Where's the cake? I was ready for some cake.

- We could sing.