“I generally don’t like to get involved in blaming people, because I think that would maybe push them back even more,” Fauci said. “I can totally understand the governor’s frustration. So I don’t have any problem with that.”
Fauci added he’d like to see more leaders in those areas encouraging people to get vaccinated to blunt the spread of the disease.
“What I would really like to see is more and more of the leaders in those areas that are not vaccinating to get out and speak out and encourage people to get vaccinated,” Fauci said, then referenced a Louisiana congressman and another governor.
“I was very heartened to hear people like [House Minority Whip] Steve Scalise come out and say, hey, we need to get vaccinated. Even Gov. [Ron] DeSantis right now in Florida is saying the same thing.”
“We have got to get more people who relate well to the individuals who are not getting vaccinated to get out there and encourage them to get vaccinated, as well as the trusted messengers in the community,” he added.
Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine last week and encouraged others to do the same.
The highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is surging in the U.S., with unvaccinated people accounting for 97 percent of hospitalizations, according to federal health officials.
Ivey made waves last week with her plea for Alabama residents to get vaccinated, arguing people who haven’t received the vaccine are to blame for the disease’s surge in a state with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
“Folks [are] supposed to have common sense,” Ivey told reporters Thursday in Birmingham. “But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.”
Asked about comments by President Joe Biden and some governors saying that the virus was in retreat a month ago, Fauci said the disease “certainly is in retreat among the vaccinated.”
“It’s like we have two kinds of America. We have the very vulnerable unvaccinated part, and we have the really relatively protected vaccinated part,” Fauci said. “So, if you are vaccinated, you are really in a very different category than someone who is not vaccinated.”