The campaigns to eradicate smallpox and polio would not have succeeded if the vaccines were subject to misinformation, akin to the “false information” on Covid-19 shots, the US top scientist on infectious diseases, Anthony Fauci, has said.
Smallpox was eradicated worldwide over 40 years ago and polio has been eliminated in almost every country. Fauci said such efforts would have faltered under the current climate of misinformation, the Daily Mail reported on Sunday.
Fauci’s comments reflected mounting frustration over the sharp drop in the Covid-19 vaccination rate in the US, even as the deadly infectious disease is rising.
He also blasted the media for spreading false information on Covid jabs.
“If we had had the pushback for vaccines the way we’re seeing on certain media, I don’t think it would’ve been possible at all to not only eradicate smallpox, we probably would still have smallpox, and we probably would still have polio in this country if we had the kind of false information that’s being spread now,” Fauci was quoted as saying to the CNN.
The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 34,067,424 and 608,881, respectively, according to Johns Hopkins University.
After an initial burst of vaccinations around the country, the pace has slowed sharply.
President Joe Biden’s announced goal of having 70 per cent of adults vaccinated by July 4 fell short by about three points, and the vaccination rate has slowed further since then, even as the disease’s Delta variant has spread rapidly.
Meanwhile, the White House Covid Response team has warned Americans that the US outbreak is becoming “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” and nearly all hospital admissions and deaths are now among those who have not got their shots.
The seven-day average of new cases is up nearly 70 per cent over the last week, hospital admissions have climbed about 36 per cent and deaths by 26 per cent, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The “extreme vulnerability” of people who are not vaccinated will account for infections, hospitalisations, and, ultimately, deaths, Fauci warned.