December 6, 2022

All 2600 guests at White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on April 30 will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, WHCA updates guidance after Dr. Fauci’s interview on ABC

Steven Portnoy
Steven Portnoy

All 2600 guests at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on April 30 will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, WHCA President, Steven Portnoy, said on Sunday, following an interview by Dr. Anthony Fauci on ABC News.

White House COVID Chief Medial Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci participates in a press briefing in December 2022

“You’ve had lots of questions. So here’s an update from me on our COVID-19 mitigation strategy for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner: Your board voted this morning to augment our existing same-day antigen testing requirement to add a requirement that all dinner attendees be fully vaccinated, as the CDC defines the term,” Portnoy said in an email to WHCA members. “When asked by Jon Karl on ABC this morning whether large scale events such as ours should proceed, Dr. Fauci made a point of suggesting same-day testing in addition to a vaccine requirement.”

Portnoy added that “same-day testing has been our plan for months, and now we’re closing the loop by adding the vaccine requirement.”

He said, “We’ll ask all guests to demonstrate their compliance with both via the Bindle app. Our exec director, Steve Thomma, is working with bureau managers and ticket buyers to ensure guidance on the use of the app is widely disseminated and understood by all attendees.

“I’ll add this suggestion: if you’re eligible for a 4th booster shot, you should think about getting one THIS WEEK. Doing so should position you to enjoy maximum protection from the shot by the time of our dinner, April 30th. 

“The board’s policy is aimed at preventing anyone who is known to be infectious (as indicated by a positive result on a rapid antigen test) from spreading the virus at the dinner. But nothing we implement to protect the ballroom can reach the many social events other organizers throw around our dinner. Bear that in mind. 

“There are risks attendant to everything we’ll do over the next few weeks— hanging out with friends, going to briefings, attending Easter Sunday services or Passover Seders, and, of course, celebrating the First Amendment at our annual dinner. Each of us should judge our respective risk thresholds before engaging in any of these activities.

“We are lucky to live in a time and in a country in which vaccines, tests and treatments are widely available. Those tools make it possible for us to decide what’s best for each of us.”

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