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American News Aug 8, 2021 2:27 PM EST

NIH Director urges Americans to get vaccinated, laments ‘politicization’ of public health

As select states break pandemic records for hospitalizations, new cases per day now average over 100,000 for the first time since the start of the vaccine rollout.

NIH Director urges Americans to get vaccinated, laments ‘politicization’ of public health
The Post Millennial The Post Millennial

NIH Director Francis Collins spoke against the dangers of ‘politicizing’ the COVID vaccine on Sunday. These remarks come as many states grapple with a mounting ‘fourth’ wave of cases due to the more transmissible Delta variant.

In an appearance on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Director Collins rhetorically asked the host: "How did we get here? Why is a mandate about a vaccine or wearing a mask becoming a statement of your political party?"

"We never should have let that happen," he said: "Come on, America, we can separate these." He attributed the politicization of US politics and the COVID vaccine as what's killing people.

As select states break pandemic records for hospitalizations, new cases per day now average over 100,000 for the first time since the start of the vaccine rollout. Deaths and hospitalizations, which lag behind cases, are also on the rise, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Director Collins stressed that to Stephanopoulos, noting that "Death rates are starting to [tick] up again. You just went through the numbers about how many cases we are seeing. We’re in a very steep upswift of that curve."

The NIH Director made clear his belief that 'public officials' should be pushing Americans to get fully vaccinated, but did not explicitly endorse vaccine passports or vaccine mandates. He told Stephanopoulos that "we ought to use every public health tool we can when people are dying" and that "we ought to be thinking of every possible intervention."

He told Politico that "most of the projections say we’re in for a really tough August, September, October," and warned Americans would be reintroduced to unpopular  lockdown measures, similar to those the country endured earlier in the pandemic.

Collins also spoke directly to vaccine skeptics: "If you're on the fence, get off the fence. ... Roll up your sleeves." He added that the Biden administration was seeking "to avoid lockdowns at all costs"

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