Politics Fauci praises GOP encouraging vaccines: 'A very good thing'
Rand Paul sends criminal referral to DOJ saying Fauci lied about gain-of-function research funding
Sen. Rand Paul requested that Attorney General Merrick Garland criminally investigate Dr. Anthony Fauci over Senate testimony in which President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser testified that the National Institutes of Health never funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which the Kentucky Republican says is a lie. © Provided by Washington Examiner Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, insists that the NIH grants did not fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab and has repeatedly defended U.S. funding going to bat coronavirus research in China.
Anthony Fauci 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 Scalise's (R-La.) new remarks. Scalise revealed that he got his initial dose of Pfizer this past weekend,linked to the delta variant. He called the shot "safe and effective."
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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."- The Hill (@thehill)
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.
Fact check: Rep. Eric Swalwell falsely says Mitch McConnell only got 'serious' about Covid-19 vaccines after Monday stock market dip .
On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did what he has been doing for seven months: he called on Americans to get vaccinated for Covid-19. © AL DRAGO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Representative Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, speaks during a House Intelligence Committee hearing about worldwide threats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 15, 2021.