Fauci on Tucker Carlson vaccine comments: 'Typical crazy conspiracy theory'

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciHouse Republican calls second bout of COVID-19 'far more challenging' Indiana University to honor Fauci with distinguished leadership award Conflicting school mask guidance sparks confusion MORE, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, pushed back Wednesday on remarks from Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonBiden walks fine line with Fox News Fox News: 'Entirely unacceptable' for 'NSA to unmask Tucker Carlson' GOP's Banks burnishes brand with Pelosi veto MORE that appeared to question the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines.

“That’s just a typical crazy conspiracy theory,” Fauci said during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday. “Why would we not tell people if it doesn’t work?” 

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Fauci took issue with a specific remark from Carlson, who questioned why guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that vaccinated people continue to wear masks and conform to social distancing guidelines if the vaccines work.

“If the vaccine is effective, there is no reason for people who have received the vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact,” Carlson said. “So maybe it doesn’t work and they’re simply not telling you that."

Carlson has previously said he is "pro-vaccine" and began his Tuesday night show by saying he was “not against” the vaccine “on principle,” adding, “Like every American, we are grateful.” 

His later remarks came in the context of Tuesday's news that the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was being paused across the country because of concerns about a rare type of blood clot that has developed in six women who received the vaccine.

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“I don’t want to get into arguments about Tucker Carlson, but to me it’s just counter to what we’re trying to accomplish to protect the safety and the health of the American public,” Fauci said of Carlson's remarks. 

Fauci said that while it is “understandable” that some people may want to “wait and see” how other people respond to the vaccine before getting the inoculation themselves, he pointed out that more than 120 million people in the U.S. have already received at least one dose. 

“That’s a lot of people,” he said. “How long do you want to wait and see?” 

“Almost half the country has received at least one dose. So I think we’ve had enough wait and see,” he continued. “Let’s do it.” 

Fauci has become a lightning rod for some conservatives with his high-profile role across two administrations battling the pandemic. 

He has become a hero to many in the country who admire his work in combating COVID-19 but also a symbol of what many conservatives see as an overly intrusive federal government.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP Rep. Cawthorn says he wants to 'prosecute' Fauci Writer: Fauci, Paul clash shouldn't distract from probe into COVID-19 origins S.E. Cupp: 'The politicization of science and health safety has inarguably cost lives' MORE (R-Ky.), who has repeatedly feuded with Fauci, called him a "petty tyrant" earlier this week.