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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, sought to remind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of the critical role played by vaccines throughout history in response to the Republican’s latest controversial comments about COVID-19 shots.
DeSantis ― whose state is currently being ravaged by the highly contagious delta variant of the virus and who has personally battled to ban mask mandates in schools ― on Friday suggested vaccinations are “about your health and whether you want that protection or not” and “really doesn’t impact me or anyone else.”
“If he feels that vaccines are not important for people, that they are just important for some people, that’s completely incorrect,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Tuesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “New Day.”
“Vaccination ... has been the solution to every major public health issue in which a vaccine was developed for,” he continued. “I mean: smallpox, polio, measles. I’m not sure what people are talking about when they push back on vaccinations. It is historically, over decades and decades and decades, shown to be the way you control an infectious disease.”
Watch the video here:
(The DeSantis discussion begins around 1:20.)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said that getting a vaccine “doesn’t impact me or anyone else.” Dr. Anthony Fauci says that is “completely incorrect.”
“When you have a virus that's circulating in the community, and you are not vaccinated, you are part of the problem,” Fauci says. pic.twitter.com/IXSWL3sLcn
— New Day (@NewDay) September 7, 2021
Anchor Jim Sciutto clarified DeSantis’ point that it’s “a personal choice about yourself” that “doesn’t impact anybody else.”
“Well, that’s not true at all,” Fauci replied. “I mean, obviously it’s important for you as an individual for your own personal protection, safety and health. But when you have a virus that’s circulating in the community and you are not vaccinated, you are part of the problem because you are allowing yourself to be a vehicle for the virus to be spreading to someone else.”
“It isn’t as if it stops with you. If that were the case, then it would be only about you. But it doesn’t,” he added. “You can get infected even if you get no symptoms or minimally symptomatic and then pass it on to someone who in fact might be very vulnerable ― an elderly person, a person with an underlying disease. So when you’re dealing with an outbreak of an infectious disease, it isn’t only about you. There is a societal responsibility that we all have.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.