Dr. Anthony Fauci has praised California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandate for all students to get a COVID-19 vaccine, arguing that this is not a “novel” approach for schools.
California proudly announced the nation’s first-ever statewide COVID-19 vaccine requirement in schools. Newsom’s announcement compared the mandate to those for measles, mumps and rubella.
The mandate has divided parents in the state, but Fauci applauded California’s decision, echoing California’s argument.
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“I have been and I still am in favor of these kinds of mandates,” Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.” “You can make some exceptions to them, but in general, people look at this like this is something novel and new when … we have made it a requirement for children to get into schools to get different types of vaccines.”
“To be vaccinated with certain vaccines is not something new,” he stressed. “It’s been around for a very long time.”
Fauci’s appearances across Sunday morning shows continued his push to increase vaccinations nationwide as the U.S. still lags behind its target numbers: Around 56% of all Americans have been fully vaccinated, with at least 65% of all Americans having received at least one shot, according to data from USA Facts.
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The lower-than-expected vaccination rate has started to raise some concerns ahead of the winter holiday season, which helped propel the country into its third wave of infections in 2020.
During an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Fauci urged caution when discussing what may or may not happen in the upcoming months.
“It is just too soon to tell,” Fauci said. “We have to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a particular time.”
“Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down. and we can do it by people getting vaccinated,” Fauci added.
Some officials have started to tout a pill from Merck, which studies indicate may reduce risk of death and hospitalization by half. Fauci has applauded the promise the new pill offers, but he worries that some see it as a miracle cure that will continue to suppress vaccinations.
“That’s such a false narrative, if someone says, well, now you have a drug,” Fauci said. “Remember, the easiest way to stay out of the hospital and not die is don’t get infected. Don’t get sick.”
“I mean, this idea that we have a drug, don’t get vaccinated, it just doesn’t make any sense.”
Peter Aitken is a New York born-and-raised reporter with a focus on national and global news.