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Photos: Stefani Reynolds-Pool and Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci in an interview with CNN Tuesday pushed back on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R) claim last week that getting the COVID vaccine should be a personal choice that "really doesn't impact me or anyone else."

What he's saying: "When you're dealing with an outbreak of an infectious disease, it isn't only about you," said the nation's top infectious diseases expert. "There's a societal responsibility that we all have."

  • "If [DeSantis] feels that vaccines are not important for people, that they're just important for some people, that's completely incorrect," he said when asked about DeSantis' comments.
  • "When you have a virus that's circulating in the community and you are not vaccinated, you are part of the problem. Because you're allowing yourself to be a vehicle for the virus to be spreading to someone else."
  • "So it isn't as if it stops with you," Fauci added, noting that if an unvaccinated person tests positive, they could transmit the virus to those who are more vulnerable because of underlying medical conditions.

The big picture: The vast majority of people getting sick from COVID are unvaccinated adults.

Zoom in: DeSantis, who has banned mask mandates and vaccine passports in schools, has blamed Florida's spike in new cases on a "seasonal pattern" and "media hysteria."

Go deeper

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. to buy 500 million more Pfizer doses to share with the world — Fauci: Vaccine could be available for children 5–11 in "weeks" — Biden to get booster shot on camera.
  2. Health: Care for kidney disease plummeted in the pandemic — Manufacturers warn rapid test shortages are coming — Study: Pandemic cut U.S. life expectancy by more than 9 million years.
  3. Politics: Brazil's health minister tests positive during UN summit in N.Y. — Massachusetts State Police union sues over governor's vaccine mandate — Biden to push vaccine-sharing at UN, but boosters at home.
  4. Education: Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban — D.C. schools to require teachers, staff to receive vaccine without testing option — More schools using "test-to-stay" strategy to minimize quarantines.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Education Department investigating Texas mask mandate ban

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (left) and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. Photos: Montinique Monroe and Win McNamee via Getty Images

The Education Department is investigating Texas' ban on mask mandates and its possible violation of disability rights.

Why it matters: Texas is one of several states under investigation for mask mandate bans that have impacted schools across the U.S.

United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Photo: James D. Morgan via Getty Images

United Airlines said Wednesday that over 97% of its U.S.-based employees are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a company memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: United announced in August that it would require its 67,000 U.S.-based employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 27 or face termination. It's one of several airlines that set vaccine requirements even before President Biden issued his own vaccine mandate for employers with over 100 workers.