Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, on Friday dismissed Sen. Ron Johnson’s questioning of the COVID-19 vaccines ― batting down the Wisconsin Republican’s comments by citing the horrific national death toll.
Johnson this week sowed doubt about the efficacy of the shots, their fast-track approval and the need for Americans to be vaccinated en masse.
“Well, there’s a pretty good reason,” Fauci told MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin. “We have 567,000 people who have died so far in this country from this disease. That is a really, really good reason to get people vaccinated, with a vaccine that you’ve shown is highly efficacious and quite safe.”
“And that’s the reason for the emergency use authorization,” Fauci added. “We are dealing with an emergency. How can anyone say that 567,000 dead Americans is not an emergency?”
Fauci has previously estimated between 75% and 80% of Americans need to be vaccinated in order to combat new, more contagious variants of the virus.
Johnson, a staunch ally of Donald Trump who has claimed the country “grossly overreacted” to the pandemic, contracted the coronavirus in October. He has refused to receive the vaccine, citing his immunity from his infection ― even though public health experts are unsure how long immunity lasts.
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