WASHINGTON (The Hill) — Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said in a new interview that the “anti-vaxxer attitude” of some Americans risks causing non-COVID virus outbreaks in the U.S.
“I’m concerned the acceleration of an anti-vaxxer attitude in certain segments of the population…might spill over into that kind of a negative attitude towards childhood vaccinations,” Fauci told The Financial Times in an interview published Sunday. “If you fall back on vaccines against common vaccine-preventable childhood diseases, that’s where you wind up getting avoidable and unnecessary outbreaks.”
Fauci, who announced last month that he will step down from his positions in the Biden administration in December, said that political division is one factor driving anti-vaxxer sentiment, noting how some states have not promoted COVID-19 vaccination and Congress has failed to advance billions of dollars in funding. The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report in July showing that vaccination among children declined more during the COVID-19 pandemic than at any time in the past 30 years.
Fauci’s remark comes after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) declared a state of emergency last week due to the spread of polio through wastewater, spurring the state to ramp up vaccinations against the virus.
The U.S.’s COVID-19 vaccination rate amongst adults is still at 67%, according to CDC data, but is well below other countries. ]Fauci also said in an interview with Bloomberg Law earlier this month that the U.S. should prepare for a bad flu season.