A poll released this week claimed to show nearly half of Trump supports do not plan on getting vaccinated against the COVID-19 China coronavirus, a statistic that sent shock waves through the COVID state bureaucracy and media. A NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll stated 47 percent of Trump supporters are choosing to not get a COVID vaccine.
On NBC’s Meet the Press this Sunday, host Chuck Todd and Biden chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci called on President Trump to urge his supporters to get the vaccine. Todd bemoaned that Trump did not participate in filming two PSAs with the four living former presidents urging Americans to get vaccinated. However, according to reports Trump was not invited to appear in the ads. (Unremarked on by Todd and Fauci is that only 58 percent of Biden supporters plan on getting vaccinated, a number that could hurt the goal of herd immunity.)
CHUCK TODD: And joining me now is the most trusted figure in the country on this subject. It’s Dr. Anthony Fauci. He’s the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Fauci, welcome back to Meet the Press.
…CHUCK TODD: I want to talk about vaccine hesitancy here because we’re noticing something, at least in polling, that it is not the conventional wisdom about vaccine hesitancy, that you see this divide by race. We’re seeing a bigger divide by politics. We talked about it earlier. For instance, among Trump voters, 47% have said that they will not be vaccinated, 30% say yes. Among Biden voters, 58%, 10%. Among Republican men, half of Republican men say they’re not going to take this vaccine. You have the PSA with all the former presidents, except one, President Trump, in there. Do you think he needs to be enlisted here at all to get his voters to take this vaccine?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Chuck, I hope he does because the numbers that you gave are so disturbing. How such a large proportion of a certain group of people would not want to make — would not want to get vaccinated merely because of political consideration. It makes absolutely no sense. And I’ve been saying that for so long. We’ve got to dissociate political persuasion from what’s common sense, no-brainer public health things. The history of vaccinology has rescued us from smallpox, from polio, from measles, from all of the other diseases. What is the problem here? This is a vaccine that is going to be lifesaving for millions of people. How some groups would not want to do it for reasons that I just don’t understand. I mean, I just can’t comprehend what the reason for that is when you have a vaccine that’s 94 to 95% effective and it is very safe. I just don’t get it.
CHUCK TODD: Hopefully, your words here will help on that front…
Fauci, who has headed up the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for nearly forty years, admitted in the interview he had no idea the pandemic would be as bad as it turned out to be.
CHUCK TODD: — a year ago, literally this date, you were out there warning us. We were all contemplating how bad this would be. But I don’t think anybody, any civilian thought, “Oh we’re going to be, this is going to be a year” at the time. What would you tell yourself from a year ago of what to expect? And how shocked have you been about what this year has been like?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: You know, Chuck, I knew it was going to be bad. And, you know, just a couple of days ago last year I said at a Congressional hearing that things were going to get much worse before they got any better. But even I did not fully anticipate that we would have over a half a million deaths a year later. I mean, we knew it was going to be bad, but this really has turned out to be just a historic example of what a pandemic virus can do. It’s just been a terribly trying year for everybody in so many respects. Not only suffering health-wise and deaths and loss of loved ones, but what, what it has done to society, to the economy, and how it has kind of deepened some of the divisiveness that we’ve had in our, in our country to begin with. It’s just made it even more intense. It’s just been a bad time all around. We’re getting around the corner. We’re going in the right direction. But boy, looking back at what we’ve been through, this — people are going to be writing about this and historically opining about it for a long time to come.
For the record, in late February and early March of 2020, Fauci was telling Americans to not wear masks, to go on cruises and to live their lives.
March 8, 2020 via CBS News:
“There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told 60 Minutes. While masks may block some droplets, Fauci said, they do not provide the level of protection people think they do. Wearing a mask may also have unintended consequences: People who wear masks tend to touch their face more often to adjust them, which can spread germs from their hands. But there is another risk to healthy people buying disposable masks as a precaution. The price of face masks is surging, and Prestige Ameritech, the nation’s largest surgical mask manufacturer, is now struggling to keep up with the increased demand. “It could lead to a shortage of masks for the people who really need it,” Fauci said.”
March 9, 2020 via Forbes:
“If you are a healthy young person, there is no reason if you want to go on a cruise ship, go on a cruise ship.” Anthony Fauci, Director of NIAID
February 29, 2020 via the Today Show:
Dr. Fauci on coronavirus fears: No need to change lifestyle yet
Dr. Fauci became a hero of the anti-Trump resistance by making faces behind Trump’s back during Coronavirus Task Force press briefings.
In talking with Todd about the rapid development of COVID vaccines last year, Fauci gave no credit to President Trump and his Operation Warp Speed program that ramrodded the creation of three vaccines in record time:
“…If you want to look, Chuck, at the success story in this terrible year, it has been the extraordinary, unprecedented advance with the vaccine — where, you know, in January of 2020 we started the process and 11 months later, we had a highly efficacious vaccine going into the arms of individuals, which is going to be the answer to this together with public health measures. So, keep the science up, continue to support the public health infrastructure and remain global in our interactions. You know, as I’ve said so many times, a global pandemic requires a global response.”
Fauci had no kind words for Trump or even former Vice President Mike Pence who chaired the task force. Fauci did, however, gush about what Biden is doing:
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: Well, they’re achievable, Chuck, if you look just at what’s happening. What the president has done — is he’s done a number of things — but two major things is he’s gotten us a much larger supply of vaccine. He negotiated with Moderna and Pfizer to get an additional 100 million doses each from the companies. We had a contract with J&J to have 100 million doses. We’ve negotiated yet again another contract for an additional 100 million doses. That’s the supply. Then there’s the issue of getting it into people’s arms. And that’s where we’ve mobilized the community vaccine centers, the community health centers, pharmacies that are going to be getting it, mobile units that are going to putting into areas that are poorly accessible. And mobilization of a lot more people who are going to be doing the vaccinations, from the military, to volunteer, retired physicians, nurses and other health care providers. So, you know, that’s really a full-court press. And that’s the reason why we’re going to be, you know, at least a couple of months ahead of where we thought we would be.