New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi challenged White House press secretary Jen Psaki during Monday’s press briefing, asking whether President Joe Biden’s administration was fueling vaccine skepticism.
Nuzzi noted that Biden and members of his cabinet—all of whom have presumably been vaccinated for the coronavirus—continue to wear masks around each other. She asked Psaki whether that was playing into growing fears that life would not return to normal even after people got the vaccine. (RELATED: ‘It’s Still Not OK’: Fauci Warns Vaccinated Not To Diner Indoors)
“Do you think that the White House has had any part in this in having sort of maybe pessimistic message towards some Americans who are skeptical of this administration, who for partisan reasons or otherwise — to see vaccinated people in the cabinet or the president continuing to wear masks around each other or hearing that things won’t be back to normal as the vaccine continues to be distributed? Do you think that it’s having a negative effect at all?” Nuzzi asked.
“Well, look, I think, one, we recognize we’re not always the best messengers,” Psaki replied. “That’s why we’re working with these local organizations and groups because we certainly know that President Biden and Vice President Harris may not be the right voices in a range of communities across the country.”
Psaki went on to say that the administration was committed to setting the best example for the public based on the available research and said, at least for the time being, that meant continuing to wear masks, washing hands and exercising social distancing even after receiving the vaccine. (RELATED: Psaki Says Biden Is Asking Americans ‘To Sacrifice A Little Bit Longer’)
“It’s a pandemic. We don’t think it’s easy. We know it’s difficult,” Psaki continued, adding, “It’s required a lot of sacrifice, but at the same time, we’re trying to provide accurate public health based guidance on what people can do once they have taken the vaccine.”