Frustrated Fauci hits out at anti-vaccination TV commentators

WASHINGTON: Top scientist Anthony Fauci on Saturday blasted commentators who sound an anti-vaccination theme, saying the US might still be battling smallpox and polio if today's kind of misinformation existed back then.

Dr Fauci was responding to a CNN interviewer who asked if he thought "we could have defeated the measles or eradicated polio if you had Fox News, night after night, warning people about these vaccine issues that are just bunk".

He said: "We probably would still have smallpox and we probably would still have polio... if we had the kind of false information that is being spread."

Initial Covid-19 vaccine scepticism in many areas has increasingly evolved into outright hostility, a message magnified by baseless conspiracy theories regularly aired on Fox and other conservative networks.

"Maybe it doesn't work and they are simply not telling you that," Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson had said.

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. - AFP