Biden confirms Covid-19 vaccine won't be mandatory in US

5 December 2020, 07:33 | Updated: 5 December 2020, 07:35

Joe Biden has confirmed vaccination will not be mandatory
Joe Biden has confirmed vaccination will not be mandatory. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

President-elect Joe Biden has said that a Covid vaccine will not be mandatory once one becomes available in the US.

It comes as the US Centres for Disease Control urged Americans to wear masks indoors "universally", except for when they are in their own homes.

It also said the US has now entered "a phase of high-level transmission of the virus."

On Friday the US recorded over 2,500 deaths and nearly 225,000 new cases. So far, the country has confirmed 14.3 million cases and more than 278,000 deaths.

Joe Biden also said he expects his inauguration will be a scaled-back event without large crowds because of coronavirus concerns.

"My guess is there'll still be a platform ceremony but I don't know how it's all going to work out," he said.

On Friday, Vice-President Mike Pence said during a visit to Atlanta's CDC that federal approval for a Covid-19 vaccine could be "a week-and-a-half away."

It comes after the UK on Wednesday became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer vaccine.

Read more: Wisconsin recount sees Biden hold state and gain 87 votes

Read more: Dr Anthony Fauci criticises Trump campaign for taking quotes 'out of context'

Speaking in Delaware, Joe Biden said it would not be necessary to make a coronavirus vaccine mandatory.

"I will do everything in my power as president to encourage people to do the right thing and when they do it, demonstrate that it matters," he said.

The Pew Research Center says just 60% of Americans are currently prepared to take a coronavirus vaccine, up from 51% who said the same in September.

On Thursday Mr Biden told CNN he would be happy to take a vaccine in public to allay potential concerns about its safety.

And former presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton have all also said they are also prepared to be inoculated publicly.

Mr Biden has also reiterated his call for Americans to wear a mask for 100 days, a measure that he said combined with vaccine distribution would see deaths "drop off the edge".

"My hope is they will then be inclined to say it's worth the patriotic duty to go ahead and protect other people," Mr Biden said.