British Prime Minister Boris Johnson dismissed the idea of a sweeping vaccine mandate like the one President Joe Biden announced two weeks ago, adding that Britons are 'great lovers of liberty' in an interview on Tuesday.
Johnson suggested Biden might be better off using 'sweet reason and persuasion' to convince people to get a COVID shot.
Speaking to NBC's Savannah Guthrie in New York City amid the United Nations General Assembly, the UK leader was asked whether Biden's unprecedented order would narrow the gap between Americans' vaccination rate and that of Brits'.
'You have 81 percent of your eligible citizens vaccinated right now. We're at 64 percent. The president has turned to mandates where he has the legal authority to do so. Do you think that's the right idea?' Guthrie asks.
Johnson begins by playing up the differences in each country.
'It's different strokes for different folks, ok - it's up to different countries to decide how they want to approach this, this is a very controversial area.'
But he adds, 'People feel very strongly about not having the state mandate something in my country.'
Boris Johnson sat down with NBC in New York City ahead of the United Nations General Assembly
'We're great lovers of liberty. We've had to do it by sweet reason and persuasion. And that's working.'
Guthrie asked him what happens when persuasion alone doesn't work.