Scarborough pleads with Biden to mandate vaccines for teachers, health workers
"He does need to make the tough choice right now," Scarborough said. "And he needs to start in his own political backyard. He needs to tell the teachers union that he’s going to require every public health care person to get it but also ... every public school teacher needs to be vaccinated.”
Scarborough noted that last year before a vaccine had been developed, "all we heard" from teachers unions across the country was "we can't go back to school."
Not returning to classrooms this fall is "not an option," the former Republican congressman-turned-cable news host said.
"Our kids stayed home last year from school and the results were absolutely devastating," he continued. "So, we have the vaccines and the president of the United States needs to say if you are a public school teacher or you teach at a public university, as a condition of your job, you have to get vaccinated."
With the COVID-19 delta variant now accounting for the majority of new cases in the United States, almost entirely among the unvaccinated, Biden has faced increased pressure to get more aggressive in his administration's mass vaccination efforts.
Public health experts have said all three vaccines being used in the United States are effective in fighting off the delta variant and greatly decrease a person's likelihood of becoming seriously sick even if they do become infected with the virus.
On Monday, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and dozens of other groups wrote in a statement to The Washington Post asking that the government require vaccinations for all doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health workers.
“We call for all health care and long-term care employers to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” the groups said. “The health and safety of U.S. workers, families, communities, and the nation depends on it.”
Scarborough mentioned a scandal last year within New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo 's administration during which public health officials allowed people infected with coronavirus to re-enter nursing homes as evidence of what can go wrong if unvaccinated people are allowed in close proximity to high-risk individuals.
"Here we are six months later, and I'm seeing statistics that 40, 45 percent of health care workers in nursing homes aren't vaccinated," he said. "Are you kidding me? You're putting the lives of senior citizens at risk?"
Polling shows a large portion of Republicans are either hesitant or unwilling to get a vaccine.
Biden has in recent days criticized social media companies for allowing the spread of misinformation about the vaccine, saying at one point "they're killing people" before later walking those comments back.
He has also said he is pleased to see some prominent figures in conservative politics and media advocate for vaccines.