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Tipsheet

Kamala Harris Says the Unvaccinated Are Not to Blame for Rise in COVID Cases

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Vice President Kamala Harris said in an interview aired Monday that the unvaccinated, nor anyone else, should be blamed for the recent uptick in coronavirus cases in the U.S., a message that stands in contrast to remarks previously made by President Joe Biden and other White House officials.

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"I don't think this is a moment to talk about fault," Harris said during an interview with CBS. "It is no one's fault that this virus hit our shores or hit the world. … It is more about individual power and responsibility and the decisions that everyone has the choice to make."

The vice president did, however, still encourage Americans to get vaccinated and get boosted, pointing out that the COVID vaccine is the best way people can protect themselves from the virus.

"We have the power today to go out and if you've not been boosted, go get boosted. The power today to go and get vaccinated," Harris said. "And that will have an impact on where we end up tomorrow."

But Biden, on the other hand, has previously said that the coronavirus pandemic is a pandemic "of the unvaccinated."

"This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Biden said in a September speech. "And it’s caused by the fact that despite America having an unprecedented and successful vaccination program, despite the fact that for almost five months, free vaccines have been available in 80,000 different locations, we still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot."

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And last week, White House Coronavirus Coordinator Jeff Zients said that the unvaccinated are "looking at a winter of severe illness and death."

"We are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You've done the right thing, and we will get through this," Zients said during a press briefing Friday. "For the unvaccinated, you're looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm." 

Harris' comments come as the new highly infectious omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread throughout the U.S. 

Omicron is reported to be more infectious than previous variants of COVID-19. However, scientists and public health experts have said that the new variant only produces mild cases of the virus.

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