Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s lead immunologist, lashed out at “ideological rigidity” over the weekend as being responsible for slightly more than half the country not yet taking the COVID-19 vaccine, even as new variants — Delta and Lambda — emerge.
His comments come as the Biden administration renews its push to get more Americans jabbed, even as demand for vaccines has dropped significantly in some states while supplies have dramatically increased, Fox News reported.
Increasingly, Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, has blamed political divides on why vaccination rates are not higher across the country. That said, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in most states and territories, 75 percent of their first vaccine doses have been administered.
He did so again during an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.
“I mean, it’s ideological rigidity,” Fauci said when asked why more Americans had not yet been vaccinated, going on to blame Republican-controlled states and regions of the country.
“I think there’s no reason not to get vaccinated. Why are we having red states and places in the South that are very highly ideological in one way, not wanting to get vaccinations – vaccinations have nothing to do with politics,” he added.
He also ripped into attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in Dallas over the weekend who cheered after a speaker noted that the Biden administration missed its 90-percent vaccination target earlier this month.
“It’s horrifying,” said Fauci. “I mean, they are cheering about someone saying it’s a good thing for people not to try and save their lives.”
“I just don’t get it,” he noted further. “I don’t understand that.”
Jake Tapper asks Dr. Anthony Fauci to react to the CPAC Texas crowd cheering that the government has been unable to reach its vaccine goals so far.
Fauci: “It’s horrifying… I just don’t get that. I mean, and I don’t think that anybody who is thinking clearly can get that.” pic.twitter.com/4nY7CMor5i
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) July 11, 2021
Polling firm Gallup found in a recent survey that 20 percent of Americans — 1 in 5 — are not planning to get a vaccine under any circumstances.
That is worrisome to U.S. health officials including Fauci because of the emergence of the new variants. The Delta variant, for instance, is about 40-60 percent more contagious, and it is spreading around the country at a quickening pace. The Lambda variant is much less prevalent and appears to be dominant only in the country of Peru at the moment, with U.S. health officials not yet showing much concern.
The current crop of COVID vaccines is said to be at least 90 percent effective in preventing serious illness or death from the Delta variant, officials have said. As such, experts like Fauci have renewed pushes for more Americans to get the vaccine, which is free.
“If you’re not vaccinated, you should be concerned,” Fauci continued during a separate interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
“We know from extensive experience, not only in our own country, here in the United States, but in other countries, that the vaccines that we are using work extremely well against the Delta variant, particularly in preventing advanced disease that would lead to hospitalization and likely death in some circumstances,” he continued.
“That’s the reason why we’re very concerned, is that we have some sort of a schism between some states and some areas that have a very low level of vaccination, which is really unfortunate because we want to make sure those people are protected for their own safety and their own life, but that of their family in their community,” Fauci added.
It’s likely that one reason they aren’t rushing to get a vaccine is that they’ve had the virus and have recovered, leaving them with antibodies. Others, reportedly, are concerned about vaccine side effects.
“A reminder: area under the curve is what matters for efficacy. Judging vaccines on two good months (or two bad weeks post-first dose) is a mistake. We are nowhere near knowing how well and how long these work. Which is why they shouldn’t be mandated. That, and the side effects,” noted COVID-19 author and researcher Alex Berenson on Saturday.
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