Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday had some blunt words for Americans choosing not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the Biden administration’s top COVID-19 adviser was asked if he was frustrated by those who are resistant to being inoculated.
“Yes, Jimmy, it is very frustrating,” Fauci said. “There’s a societal responsibility that we should all have to put an end to this outbreak. And if you have a group of people who understandably may think that they are invulnerable because they are young and healthy… and therefore it doesn’t make any difference if they get infected because they likely will do well, that’s really not the right attitude.”
Fauci’s comments came a day after the nation’s top scientists concluded that reaching herd immunity is unlikely, in large part due to a sizable chunk of the population having decided that getting inoculated just isn’t their cup of tea.
Like he has so many times before, Fauci explained how this refusal blunts the effectiveness of the national vaccination effort.
“If you let yourself get infected, it’s not just you in a vacuum,” he said. “You may inadvertently and innocently infect somebody else who will infect someone who will really get in trouble… That’s really the frustrating part.”
While more than half of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine dose, and everyone aged 16 years and older has been eligible to sign up for an appointment since mid-April, inoculation rates are falling, particularly in red states. About half of Republicans under 50 say they won’t get vaccinated. And it certainly doesn’t help when influential media figures like Joe Rogan push harmful myths about the vaccine.
Yet Fauci maintained that vaccine holdouts should not be given up on, as they could be persuaded to be vaccinated if the process becomes easier. As he put it, he has a “moral responsibility” to do what he can to get them vaccinated—a task made even more difficult, he added, due to misinformation and conspiracy theories circulating online about the process.