Anthony FauciAnthony FauciDeSantis urges public to get vaccinated: These shots are ‘saving lives’ New Jersey officials say nearly 50 fully-vaccinated residents have died from COVID-19 Six times Fauci and Rand Paul clashed in hearings MORE said Republicans who are now encouraging Americans to get vaccinated are doing “a very good thing” to help stop the spread of COVID-19 as well as misinformation about vaccines.
In an interview with The Hill, Fauci said he was glad to hear some top GOP leaders be more outspoken in recent days about the importance of receiving a life-saving vaccine.
The top immunologist was especially pleased by House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse committee approves slate of bills to improve telecom security Greene: Reporter’s question about vaccination status ‘a violation of my HIPAA rights’ The Hill’s Morning Report – High-profile COVID-19 infections spark new worries MORE’s (R-La.) new remarks. Scalise revealed that he got his initial dose of Pfizer this past weekend, citing an uptick in cases linked to the delta variant. He called the shot “safe and effective.”
On Thursday, Scalise, the second highest-ranking GOP member of the House, went a step further by explicitly instructing people to protect themselves.
“I would encourage people to get the vaccine,” he said during an outdoor press event with fellow Republican officeholders.
Rep. Steve Scalise: “I would encourage people to get the vaccine. I have high confidence in it. I got it myself.” pic.twitter.com/7JO7TTictZ
— The Hill (@thehill) July 22, 2021
To Fauci, it was a welcome message.
“I was very pleased to hear Congressman Scalise … make that statement about vaccines,” he said. “That was very helpful.”
For months, many Republicans have downplayed the public health benefits of getting vaccinated. Some GOP lawmakers have even been accused of spreading misinformation online. There is currently no unified message from the party.
Asked if Scalise’s public posture might help persuade others who may have been reluctant to take their first or second dose, Fauci suggested it’s a “positive” development in the dialogue.
“There’s no doubt when you look at the distribution of unvaccinated people it certainly weighs very much more heavily towards Republicans in red states,” he said.
“I think when they see a Republican leader like Congressman Scalise lean strongly towards people getting vaccinated, I think that’s a very positive thing,” he added.