Fox News host Tucker Carlson seized on Tuesday’s news about the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to casually suggest to his viewers that the American government knows that the COVID-19 vaccines don’t work but are purposely “not telling you that.”
The Food and Drug Administration called for a halt on the rollout of the J&J shots on Tuesday after six reported cases of what the agency called a “rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the vaccine.” The FDA, however, also stressed that “these adverse events appear to be extremely rare” among the nearly seven million doses that have already been administered.
The acting FDA commissioner said later on Tuesday that they expect the pause to only last “a few days,” noting that their aim was to give officials enough time to reach out to clinics and administrators to discuss diagnosing other similar cases. Still, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci wasn’t as optimistic, saying it was “too premature” to say if the J&J vaccine would even be used following the pause.
While health officials are studying whether to exclude certain age groups if they resume the J&J vaccine—all six reported cases were women between the age of 18 and 48—they have also reiterated that the pause won’t impact the overall vaccine distribution, noting that J&J represented the “great minority” of American doses. Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, insisted that there’s no evidence its shot was behind the very rare blood-clot cases.
A vocal vaccine skeptic for months now, Carlson pounced on that alarming news Tuesday night, taking the opportunity to openly speculate that the White House and government agencies know that the vaccines are ineffective and dangerous but are hiding that fact from the American people.
Seeking to couch his skepticism by positioning himself as “pro-vaccine,” as he's said in the past, Carlson began his monologue by declaratively stating about the vaccines: “We are not against it on principle. Like every American, we are grateful.”
Even though there is already empirical proof that the federally approved vaccines have proven to be extremely effective in preventing infection and severe illness, and countries such as Israel have essentially been able to fully open up due to successful vaccine distribution, Carlson then used his tried—and—true “just asking questions” tactic to undermine confidence in vaccination.
“In its story about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this morning, Axios reported the Biden administration is worried that halting distribution of the shot might encourage ‘vaccine hesitancy,’” Carlson declared. “In other words, don’t tell them it’s dangerous, they might not take it. That doesn’t reassure anyone.”
Adding that this leads to the question of whether “it is effective” and “does it work,” the Fox News star asserted that public health officials are no longer “telling you how effective it is” and are, in fact, “they are telling you the opposite.”
From there, Carlson appeared to suggest there must be some conspiracy behind the CDC director and Dr. Fauci suggesting people continue to wear masks and social distance even among those currently vaccinated, especially in areas with rising coronavirus cases. He further took issue with Fauci recommending that vaccinated individuals stay away from crowded situations where infection levels are high.
“Does that tell us that he believes the vaccine is ineffective?” Carlson rhetorically asked. “He seems to think that. Here he is telling you that once you get the vaccine, you are still not allowed to eat or drink indoors at restaurants. Your life can't really change at all.”
According to the cable news host, who Fox News lawyers have successfully argued in court should not be taken seriously, the only possible rationalization for the continued cautiousness from experts amid the vaccine rollout is that the vaccines are a dud.
“Experts say it is not entirely clear when it will be considered okay for people who are fully vaccinated to stop wearing masks,” he stated. “At some point, no one is asking this but everyone should be, what is this about? If vaccines work, why are vaccinated people still banned from living normal lives? Honestly, what's the answer to that, it doesn't make any sense at all!”
Carlson continued: “If the vaccine is effective, there’s no reason for people who’ve received a vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact. So maybe it doesn’t work and they’re simply not telling you that. Well, you’d hate to think that especially if you’ve gotten two shots but what’s the other potential explanation? We can’t think of one.”