It is “absolutely” the government’s business to know whether and which Americans have not been vaccinated, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra told CNN on Thursday.
Republicans have criticized President Joe Biden’s plan to go “door-to-door” in areas with low vaccination rates to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated. The White House later clarified that the program involved grassroots volunteers — not federal officials — and that the government is not using personal medical records to verify vaccinations. CNN Host Brianna Keilar asked Becerra about criticism that Biden’s program is too invasive.
“I wonder if you can answer that criticism: ‘It’s none of the government’s business knowing who has or hasn’t been vaccinated.’ What do you say?” Keilar asked. (RELATED: Marjorie Taylor Greene Compares Biden’s Door-To-Door Vaccine Push To Nazi Storm Troopers)
“The federal government has had to spend trillions of dollars to try to keep Americans alive during this pandemic, so it is absolutely the government’s business,” Becerra responded. “It is the taxpayer’s business if we have to continue to spend money to try to keep people from contracting COVID and helping reopen the economy. And so, it is our business to try to make sure Americans can prosper to make sure Americans can freely associate, and knocking on a door has never been against the law.”
“There are any number of ways to try to continue to make progress, and the president has demonstrated that he is open to moving in any direction we can to help Americans get safe, be safe, feel safe,” Becerra said. “We’ll continue to provide Americans access. We’re gonna go where you are so that you can get vaccinated.”
“When you take to a vehicle and you drive with your children in that vehicle, you assume everyone will be as responsible as you will behind the wheel. Unfortunately not everyone is,” Becerra continued. “Do we prohibit people from driving because they won’t be as responsible as you? We again give people choices and we try to have people be responsible. COVID is no different; the vaccine is no different.”
The government isn’t obtaining personal information for non-vaccinated Americans, an administration official told The Daily Caller on Wednesday. While the administration doesn’t have a database on non-vaccinated individuals, it is using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to focus on areas with low vaccination rates, the official said. This information, which tracks counties’ vaccination rates across the U.S., is publicly available on the CDC’s website.