House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ended speculation about whether she’ll require members of the House to get vaccinated against COVID-19, admitting Thursday the House can’t make members of Congress receive a COVID-19 vaccination and cannot determine who is vaccinated due to privacy laws.
“We cannot require someone to be vaccinated. That is just not what we can do,” Pelosi said. “It is a matter of privacy to know who is or who isn’t.”
Pelosi added, “I can’t go to the Capitol physician and say give me names of people who aren’t vaccinated so I can go encourage them or make it known to others to encourage them to be vaccinated.”
Instead, the house speaker referred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) latest guidelines for social distancing and mask wearing.
“It may be in the last few days some more, but I think it’s about 75 percent. But again, the physician cannot tell us, Democrats, Republicans or who — and that’s right,” Pelosi added regarding how many House members have been vaccinated. “We should be respecting people’s privacy.”
According to an NBC News report in March, “About one in four members of the House has not been vaccinated against Covid-19 as of early March, despite having had access to the vaccine since December, according to a letter from House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy.”
McCarthy also argued the rate of vaccinated House members was high enough to return to business as usual. The House has continued to operate.
However, President Joe Biden’s recent speech to a joint session of Congress included on 200 people attending in person. Approximately 1,600 traditionally attend.