WASHINGTON – Dr. Anthony Fauci, a retiring public health expert demonized by the Trump wing of the Republican Party, on Tuesday called out the “relentless” propagators of COVID vaccine misinformation and said he had no problem defending their record. in the promised hearings before the next -Ser Casa Republicana.
“I have no problem testifying… I have nothing to hide,” Fauci said in likely his last White House briefing room appearance before leaving office after 54 years at the National Institutes of Health, the last 38 directing the National Institute of Health. Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
He added that he has testified hundreds of times before Congress throughout his career. “We can defend and explain and support everything that we have said,” she said.
Fauci stood by his record of handling the pandemic that is now three years old and said that if he has any regrets, it is that he was not more emphatic in his early warnings that his advice would change as new data was collected and not be more forceful. in countering lies about the vaccine.
“The other side that keeps putting out misinformation and disinformation seems to be relentless in that effort,” he said.
When asked if he regretted misinformation from non-medical experts during Donald Trump’s presidency, Fauci said he tried to counter it.
“I contradicted them, which triggered a whole series of things in my life,” he laughs.
Trump downplayed the severity of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic in January 2020, claiming it was no worse than the common cold, that it would go away on its own by Easter that year, and even calling it a hoax.
Many Republicans accepted his lies as fact and, in the years since, have turned against vaccines for the disease and the medical and scientific community for promoting them. As part of that, Fauci, despite his experience and service under seven presidents from both parties, has become a villain among Trump supporters and the anti-vaccine community.
Republicans running for office in this month’s midterms have routinely called for Fauci to jail, while House Republicans have vowed to force him to testify before congressional committees when they take control of the house in January.
“He thinks that resigning will keep him from being held accountable. He is wrong. We will bring it back ASAP,” Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs wrote in a Twitter post Tuesday morning.
Fauci was at the White House as part of the Biden administration’s latest push to encourage Americans to get vaccinated with the new “bivalent” booster that is more effective against the latest strain of COVID. So far, only 13 percent of the country has received such reinforcement.
He said he is discouraged that so many choose not to get vaccinated for political reasons. “When I see people in this country because of the division in our country, who don’t get vaccinated for reasons that have nothing to do with public health but have to do with division and ideological differences, as a doctor, I It hurts because I don’t want anyone to get infected,” he said.
Studies have found that residents of Republican counties are dying from COVID at a higher rate than residents of Democratic counties.
“I don’t want to see anyone hospitalized, and I don’t want to see anyone die from COVID. It doesn’t matter if you’re a far-right Republican or a far-left Democrat,” Fauci said.
“So my message and my final message, perhaps the final message that I give you from this podium, is for your own safety, for your family’s safety, get your updated COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are eligible to protect yourself. to you, to your family and to your community”, he added. “And do it as soon as possible.”