President Biden suggested Wednesday that it was a matter of “community responsibility” to keep parents honest about whether their children aged 12 and older are vaccinated when schools reopen later this year.

“It’s going to get a little bit tight in terms of mom or dad being honest that Johnny did or did not get vaccinated. That’s going to raise questions,” Biden said. “But I think what’s going to happen is you’re going to see this work out in ways that people are going to know in the community.”

He indicated that communities would hold their members accountable regarding vaccination status.

“Everybody knows in the community knows whether Johnny really did get the vaccination when he’s 15 or 17 years old. It’s a matter of community responsibility and I think you’re going to see it work through,” Biden added.

Biden had been asked during a CNN presidential town hall to respond to concerns among parents and educators about the impending return to school amid an uptick of COVID-19 cases while children under the age of 12 are still unable to receive vaccinations. In response, Biden noted the “vast majority” of teachers are already vaccinated.

Biden said the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention would likely recommend that students under age 12 wear masks in school, while older children adhere to public health guidance requiring those who are not vaccinated to wear masks as well.

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Biden’s remarks came as his administration continues its push to vaccinate as many Americans as possible amid concerns about the delta variant. A top CDC official described a recent increase in cases as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” earlier this month.

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The president said he expected children under 12 to be able to get vaccinated “soon,” but he declined to provide a specific timeline.

“Soon in the sense that I do not tell any scientists what they should do,” Biden said. “I do not interfere. They are doing the examinations now, the testing now, and making the decisions now.”

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