President Biden does not plan to order members of the military to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but he has not entirely ruled out the idea.
During an interview marking the president's first 100 days in office that aired Friday on TODAY, Craig Melvin noted that one survey found that 40% of Marines plan not to get vaccinated, prompting him to ask Biden if he will order service members to get vaccinated, once the FDA gives final approval for vaccinations.
“I don’t know. I’m going to leave that to the military,” the president said.
“But why not? Craig asked.
“Well, I’m not saying I won’t,” he said.
The president remained optimistic that more service members will voluntarily get vaccinated without him having to intervene.
“I think you’re going to see more and more of them getting it,” he said. “And I think it’s going to be a tough call as to whether or not they should be required to have to get it in the military, because you’re (in) such close proximity with other military personnel, whether you’re in a quarters where you’re all sleeping or whether you’re out in maneuvers.”
Persuading those in the armed forced to get vaccinated has proven to be a challenge.
“We’re still struggling with what is the messaging and how do we influence people to opt in for the vaccine,” Brig. Gen. Edward Bailey, the surgeon for Army Forces Command, said in February.
President Biden also said he hopes that schools will fully open their doors for in-person learning when the new academic year commences in the fall.
"Based on science and the CDC, they should probably all be open," he said. "There's not overwhelming evidence that there's much of a transmission among these young people."