House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she can't require members of Congress or the American public to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Pelosi was asked why she didn't require lawmakers to receive the vaccine ahead of President Biden's joint address to Congress on Wednesday night in the House chamber.
"We are guided by the Capitol attending physician and the sergeant at arms, but science demands why we still have masks on," she said at a news conference. "We cannot require someone to be vaccinated, that's just not what we can do.
"It is a matter of privacy to know who is or who isn't. I can't go to the Capitol physician and say give me the names of the people that aren't vaccinated so I can go encourage them to be vaccinated."
Pelosi estimated that about 75% of the Congress is vaccinated against COVID-19.
"COVID had us in a room where normally 1,600 people would be gathered for the address by the president of the United States – 1,600 people (reduced) to 204 people because the Capitol physical insisted that social distancing, that mask wearing, were necessary," the California Democrat said.
"If we could but we can't require vaccinations for the members much less for the American people," Pelosi also said. "Some people want to say, 'Don't come into my store unless you are vaccinated,' this or that. It causes commotion."