Dr. Fauci Says Tucker Carlson Spreading 'Crazy Conspiracy Theory' With COVID Vaccine Claim

Dr. Anthony Fauci has condemned Tucker Carlson for spreading a "crazy conspiracy theory" after the Fox News host questioned the effectiveness of COVID vaccines.

Speaking on Fox News on Tuesday, Carlson said: "If the vaccine is effective, there is no reason for people who have received the vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact.

"So maybe it doesn't work, and they're simply not telling you that. Well, you'd hate to think that, especially if you've gotten two shots, but what's the other potential explanation? We can't think of one."

Fauci, the president's chief medical adviser, responded to Carlson's comments in an interview with CNN, saying: "That's just a typical crazy conspiracy theory. Why would we not tell people if [the vaccine] doesn't work? Look at the data. The data are overwhelming.

"In the three vaccines that have been approved for use in an emergency use authorization—the J&J, the Pfizer and the Moderna—you had 30,000, 44,000 and 40,000 people in the clinical trial with an overwhelming signal of efficacy.

"So I don't have any idea what he's talking about … it's certainly not helpful to the public health of this nation, or even globally."

Carlson has previously made comments both supportive of and skeptical about COVID vaccines. During an interview with journalist Glenn Greenwald, he said: "I think of myself as pretty pro-vaccine."

On Fox on Tuesday night, Carlson also described vaccines as "something all Americans can be proud of," adding: "We are not against [them] on principle."

It is not the first time Dr Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has hit out against COVID conspiracy theories and urged people to base their decisions on the health data.

In November last year, he voiced his frustration that some people were alleging COVID was no worse than flu.

During an editorial board meeting with USA Today, he said: "Get rid of these ridiculous conspiracy theories.

"I tell the people who deny or think that this is nothing, do you mean that every single country in Europe is doing the same thing, is making things up? They're not. I mean, it's so obvious."

Scientists and lawmakers have grown concerned at levels of vaccine hesitancy in the U.S.

A poll of 1,227 U.S. adults, conducted by NPR and PBS in March, found that Republicans were far more likely than Democrats to refuse the vaccine.

Forty-one percent of Republicans polled said they would not take the vaccine if offered it, compared to 11 percent of Democrats.

This article has been updated to include additional comments from Carlson and Fauci, as well as statistics on vaccine hesitancy.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci has accused Tucker Carlson of spreading a conspiracy theory about COVID vaccines. Al Drago - Pool/Getty Images