White House Correspondents Association to Require Vaccines for Annual Dinner

White House Correspondents Association to Require Vaccines for Annual Dinner a woman places signs on seats reading stop dont sit here Signs placed on seats in the White House press briefing room when stricter COVID-19 protocols were still in effect. (Getty Images)

By Solange Reyner | Sunday, 10 April 2022 05:54 PM

Anyone attending the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner next month in Washington, D.C., must be vaccinated against COVID-19, the group announced Sunday.

The notice was released the same day NBC said 68 attendees of the high-profile Gridiron Dinner held in Washington last week tested positive for COVID-19, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

Two other members of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, tested positive for the virus on Friday, according to Gridiron Club President Tom DeFrank.

“Same-day testing has been our plan for months, and now we’re closing the loop by adding the vaccine requirement. 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,” WHCA President Steve Portnoy wrote.

“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,” Portnoy wrote.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tested positive for COVID-19 last week after spending time with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Both the president and vice president, though, tested negative.