Dr Anthony Fauci said on Sunday it was extremely rare for a major religion to oppose vaccines, but acknowledged that it would be difficult to mediate situations in which workers say their faith prevents them from obtaining COVID-19 vaccines when faced with an employer mandate. .
“We looked at this years ago when people were asking for religious exemptions to avoid getting the measles vaccine,” Dr Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told “L CNN’s ‘State of the Union’. “There are very few religions that actually say you can’t do this.”
He said that sometimes people confuse a philosophical objection they have with a formal objection from a major religion. Either way, he said it’s a fine line for employers to walk as they coax employees into getting shot or facing the consequences.
“It’s going to be very difficult. I hope people will understand that this is all to their advantage, ”said Dr Fauci.
He also rejected poll results, raised by CNN host Dana Bash, which show many people in the GOP believe the pandemic is caused by migrants and tourists.
“Look at the people who are in the hospital. It is not driven by immigrants, ”said Dr Fauci, noting that other countries are facing transmission within their populations. “The problem is in our own country. Of course, immigrants can be infected, but they are not the driving force behind it. “
The leading doctor spoke shortly after the United States passed 700,000 deaths from the virus that has plagued the world since its discovery in late 2019 in China.
“It’s a very painful statistic,” said Dr Fauci.
He said many deaths were “inevitable” as the virus spread widely, but others were preventable after the vaccine became widely available earlier this year.
Almost 56% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, but about 70 million eligible people have not shown up for an initial dose.
Dr Fauci said this dark step should “make us realize that we have interventions in the form of a vaccine to prevent infection, prevent serious disease, prevent death”, “Let’s use it”, a- he declared.
The doctor also said the positive clinical results from a pill to treat COVID-19 are “extremely important.” Merck said on Friday that its product halved the risk of hospitalization and death in trials involving high-risk people, with eight deaths in the placebo group and none in the group that took the drug.
Dr Fauci said he looked forward to seeing the drug used, pending regulatory approval, but said he should not replace efforts to get vaccinated up front.
“It’s never okay to be infected,” noting that a 50% decrease in risk is not as good as vaccine efficacy ratings against serious disease.
He also encouraged parents to vaccinate children aged 5 to 11 once the Food and Drug Administration approves injections for that age group, even though some parents don’t see COVID-19 as a risk. for kids.
Dr Fauci said it is true that children tend to perform much better, although there are still risks for them and their vaccination may be helpful in another way.
“Namely, there is no spread of the infection, even in your own household,” he said.