The chief medical adviser to the White House says Michigan is battling more than COVID-19 – it’s fighting bad information about the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, acknowledges some internet sources target groups like Detroit’s majority African American population, trying to discredit COVID-19 vaccinations by raising the specter of past medical experimentation on Black people.
And Fauci says inaccurate data spreads faster over the internet than solid reporting about vaccines.
“It’s a very difficult problem to address,” he says.
One of the ways people can combat disinformation and misinformation is to “flood the system with correct information, information from health officials, like the CDC, from local public health officials,” Fauci says.
“I don’t have an easy solution except to tell people that if you look at things like vaccination, the evidence for vaccines protecting you from severe disease and death, compared to unvaccinated people is overwhelmingly obvious. You just need to look at the data.”
Listen: Dr. Anthony Fauci on who should get a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fauci says health officials are studying what kind of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are necessary to stem the virus during the fall season. If people received the initial two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, they “should unequivocally get the third shot. No question about that.”
As for a fourth shot, he says people who are immunocompromised or have underlying conditions like asthma or diabetes should get it. Age is also a factor. “The older [you are] the more likely you should get [a fourth dose],” Fauci says.
It was a factor for Fauci, who recently declined an invitation to join the first White House Correspondents Association dinner held since the start of the pandemic, an event that brings thousands of people together indoors.
Fauci says several factors drove his decision, including the fact that he’s 81 and other personal health considerations.
Fauci made news recently by telling an interviewer the U.S. was out of the pandemic phase of COVID-19 before later clarifying he meant the nation is transitioning to a less acute stage.
“We should not be mistaken in thinking that the pandemic is over,” Fauci says. “It is clear that with the new variants, BA.2, that’s circulating, and even a subvariant of that there is an uptick in infections throughout most of the United States.”