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White House vaccination coordinator gives insight into new vaccine mandates, public reacts

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Thursday, President Biden and his administration announced sweeping new mandates for employers and healthcare centers across the country.

"We have now, vaccinated over three-quarters of all eligible people in this country with at least one shot of the vaccine but we know we still have a lot more work to do," said Dr. Bechara Choucair, the White House Vaccinations Coordinator.

The new mandates are expected to cover more than a hundred million Americans.

"Those sets of requirements, vaccination requirements, will cover about a hundred million people in this country, and, we do believe this is an important step to get us to have more and more people vaccinated in this country," said Choucair.

The public had mixed responses to the current state of vaccinations across the country.

"I know there's still a lot of people in this country that have not been vaccinated, but I believe that is more of the people's choice," said Gail Emanuel, a Rochester resident.

"People have the right to make that decision themselves. But again, as I said earlier, I hope that people making those decisions, if they're not choosing to vaccinate; I hope they make those decisions for the right reasons," said Bradley Larson, who is visiting Rochester.

"If you're of the mind that you should get vaccinated, then you should. And if you don't think so, then, that's your choice too," said Kent Johnson, another Rochester visitor.

Other responses expressed more concern.

"I think it might get a little bit worse before it gets better," said Danielle Leukam, a Rochester resident. "With all the people coming in to Rochester from other states and other countries, particularly people that aren't vaccinated, bringing it to us."

"I think people need to make that decision. But I think they need to keep in mind the impact of that decision," said Larson.

Choucair says unvaccinated individuals should still worry about severe illness from COVID-19.

"The fact remains, if you are vaccinated, you are protected, particularly against severe disease, including hospitalizations and death. That's why this is another call for those who are unvaccinated to get vaccinated," said Choucair.

Many plan to continue living their lives.

"You still have to adhere to all the regulations, and maybe you don't always agree with them, but that's just the way that it is right now," said Johnson.

"I still live my life, I still do things. But I make sure that I do what I need to do to protect myself, and my family," said Emanuel.

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Noah Caplan

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