PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — One of the nation’s top health experts is praising President Joe Biden’s multi-faceted plan to combat the highly-contagious delta variant.
Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of public health at Brown University, said he’s most pleased that at-home, rapid test kits will be made readily available at retail stores and pharmacies by next week.
“We need cheap, ubiquitous testing,” he said.
While Jha is pleased with Biden’s approach, he believes the new vaccine mandate doesn’t go far enough. He believes the mandate should also include colleges and airline passengers.
“The data suggests that interstate travel itself is not a major source of spread and I can understand the choice not to [include them in the mandate],” Jha said. “But it would have made a big difference and I wish the White House would have considered it.”
When it comes to vaccine hesitancy, Jha believes misinformation and disinformation are the two biggest factors.
An example of misinformation, Jha said, is the notion that the vaccine will affect a woman’s ability to have children.
“People should feel confident getting vaccinated knowing that there’s really no reason to think that it’s going to affect fertility,” he explained.
When asked when he believes the pandemic will officially come to a close, Jha said as soon as more people get vaccinated. He’s hopeful that Biden’s plan will put the United States in a better position heading into 2022.