No federal mandate on COVID-19 vaccine: CDC chief

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Friday there will be no nationwide mandate for Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine, clarifying comments she made earlier during a televised interview.

"To clarify: There will be no nationwide mandate. I was referring to mandates by private institutions and portions of the federal government," Walensky tweeted, adding: "There will be no federal mandate."

Earlier on Friday, when asked by a Fox News Channel interviewer, "Are you for mandating a vaccine on a federal level," Walensky said: "That's something that I think the administration is looking into."

President Joe Biden's administration has been seeking ways to increase vaccination levels in the United States. Biden on Thursday urged local governments to pay people to get vaccinated and set new rules requiring federal workers to provide proof of vaccination or face regular testing, mask mandates and travel restrictions.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted on Saturday that more adults are getting the shot “than any time in the past 8-10 weeks” and that “We are seeing particularly strong increases in the states that are hard hit by Delta.”

The United States is experiencing rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, especially in areas with lower rates of vaccination. Health authorities this week introduced new measures to encourage vaccination and told fully vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in COVID-19 hot spots.

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