Apr 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

WHCA to require COVID vaccine proof for annual dinner

Picture of the White House

Photo: DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

The White House Correspondents Association will require those attending its annual dinner to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

State of play: The association was already requiring attendees to provide proof of a same-day negative COVID test. It is now also encouraging guests to get a second booster shot if they are eligible as soon as this week for "maximum protection."

What they're saying: "Same-day testing has been our plan for months, and now we’re closing the loop by adding the vaccine requirement," WHCA President Steve Portnoy writes in an email to the association.

  • "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," he adds. "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," Portnoy wrote, mentioning hanging out with loved ones, attending press briefings and other activities. "Each of us should judge our respective risk thresholds before engaging in any of these activities."

The big picture: The decision comes after several Cabinet officials, lawmakers and a slew of others tested positive for the virus after attending the Gridiron Club dinner on April 2.

What's next: The WHCA dinner is scheduled to take place on April 30.

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