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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Doctor says he'd be in favor of vaccination mandate to reach President Biden's goal

Biden said Tuesday he wants to see 70 percent of the country with at least one dose received by July 4.

INDIANAPOLIS — The clock is ticking as President Joe Biden launches a new vaccine goal for the country.

In two months, he wants to see 70 percent of Americans with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 160 million fully vaccinated.

We asked doctors what they think it will take to reach the new goal.

Dr. Ram Yeleti said it’s not a matter of asking, 'Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?' 

“I think the question is, ‘Do I want to get COVID or do I want to get a vaccine?’” Yeleti said.

Yeleti, the chief physician executive at Community Health Network, said he would be in favor of a vaccination mandate to get there. 

“Businesses might start saying, 'We want to see a vaccine before you get on'.  That's probably what’s going to trigger that 70 percent,” said Yeleti. 

Not only can the vaccine protect against a severe case of COVID-19, Yeleti said current data shows it also cuts down on the risk of transmitting it. 

“What we don’t know is, is there going to be a different variant, or variant that’s going to come the next month or two, which you might be able to spread?” he said. 

That’s why, when it comes to wearing a mask, Yeleti said you first need to consider if you’re outdoor or indoors. 

“Being outside without a mask, vaccinated or not vaccinated, is much safer than indoors,” he said. 

Right now, the CDC recommends if you’re fully vaccinated, you don’t need to wear a mask at outdoor gatherings or when dining outside with friends from different households. As for people who aren’t vaccinated, the CDC said they should still wear a mask in such cases. 

Where it gets tricky, Yeleti said, is if you’re indoors and not everyone there is vaccinated. 

“If there’s some vaccinated and some not vaccinated, then it’s probably to be better on the side of caution and wear a mask indoors,” he said. 

It's guidance that could change, should a variant of the virus show up that even the vaccine won’t prevent you from spreading. 

“We don’t know what the next few months is going to hold, so that’s why we are trying to be careful, because we don’t know if any one of these variants is going to cause a problem or not,” said Yeleti.