Jul 18, 2021 - Health

Fauci: Smallpox, polio would still be in U.S. if misinformation spread like now

Anthony Fauci, NIAID director , speaks during a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, March 18
NIAID director Anthony Fauci during a May Senate hearing in Washington, D.C. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, told CNN Saturday he's "certain" smallpox and polio would still be in the U.S. if vaccine misinformation spread like it has over COVID-19.

Why it matters: Facebook doubled down in its defense Saturday against Biden's comments that social media platforms were "killing people" by allowing coronavirus vaccine misinformation on their sites.

What he's saying: "If we had had the pushback for vaccines the way we're seeing on certain media, I don't think it would've been possible at all to not only eradicate smallpox, we probably would still have smallpox," Fauci told CNN's Jim Acosta.

  • "And we probably would still have polio in this country if we had the kind of false information that's being spread now."

The other side: Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said in a blog post Saturday that "data shows that 85% of Facebook users in the US have been or want to be vaccinated against COVID-19" and that Facebook wasn't the reason Biden's goal of vaccinating 70% of Americans "was missed."

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