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NIH Director Issues Blunt Reality Check To People Choosing Not To Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Francis Collins also slapped down a “flimsy” excuse some people are giving for not getting immunized.

Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, on Wednesday delivered a stark message for people who haven’t gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This virus is looking for you,” Collins, who has led NIH since 2009, said on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes.”

Coronavirus infections are again rising nationwide with the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant. But 99.5% of deaths from COVID-19 in the United States are now among the unvaccinated.

Collins didn’t buy the argument some cite against vaccination ― that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized vaccines for emergency use, but has not yet fully approved the shots. (Read here to see the difference between FDA emergency use authorization and full approval.)

“Come on folks, if this is the reason that you are still deciding not to get immunized, this is a pretty flimsy one,” Collins said. “This is definitely the case that these vaccines have been proven in lots and lots of public data as being safe already. We really don’t need that full FDA approval to accept that.”

People who are fully vaccinated will probably not be impacted by the spread of the delta variant and rising case numbers, said Collins.

“But if you’re unvaccinated, this virus is looking for you. And this is the moment it seems for everybody to hit their reset button, if they’ve been hesitant about getting immunized,” he added.

“This is one of the most remarkable scientific achievements that humankind has put together ― vaccines that are this safe and this effective,” Collins said. “It’s astounding, and I got to say disheartening, that still we have some 85 million Americans who are resistant to taking advantage of this gift.” 

Watch the interview here: