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Carlson hits back at Fauci: 'Never for a minute doubted' vaccines work

Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonOvernight Health Care: Biden announces 1M have enrolled in special ObamaCare sign-up period | Rand Paul clashes with Fauci over coronavirus origins | Biden vows to get 'more aggressive' on lifestyle benefits of vaccines McCarthy rental from Luntz violated condo rules: Washington Post Tucker Carlson's show does dramatic reading of Stacey Abrams romance novel MORE on Wednesday responded to Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSchools face new pressures to reopen for in-person learning Fauci: Coronavirus pandemic showed 'undeniable effects of racism in our society' Fauci: Vaccinated people become 'dead ends' for the coronavirus MORE’s criticism of an earlier segment in which the conservative television host appeared to question the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines, saying that he “never for a minute doubted” that they work.

During his Wednesday episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the Fox News host played a clip from a CNN interview with Fauci earlier that day in which the nation’s top infectious diseases expert argued that Carlson was advancing a “typical crazy conspiracy theory.” 

Fauci specifically criticized Carlson questioning guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that recommends that vaccinated people continue to wear masks and conform to social distancing guidelines. 

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

Fauci said Wednesday that Carlson’s remarks “were counter to what we’re trying to accomplish to protect the safety and the health of the American public.” 

Carlson, who has previously said he is pro-vaccine, said Wednesday that he had not intended to doubt the efficacy of the vaccines, but instead sought to address concerns on the safety requirements for Americans post-vaccination. 

“Wait a second. Who is doubting that vaccines work?” Carlson began. “For the record, we never for a minute doubted it.” 

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"We assumed they had detailed studies showing that it does work. We still think that," Carlson added. "The only reason we are asking the question is because the people in charge are acting like it doesn't work." 

“You see the president of the United States wearing a mask outside, you see the vice president doing the same thing,” he continued. “You see the guy in charge of coronavirus response ... telling us that, again, after you’ve had the vaccine, you must remain under the restrictions.” 

“So we’re asking a question that is rooted in science, which is why?” Carlson continued. “If this stuff works, why can’t you live like it works? What are you really telling us here?”

“If the coronavirus vaccine prevents you from catching the coronavirus, why are you wearing a mask?” he asked. “So that’s the question. It’s not a conspiracy theory. As an American, you should ask it too.” 

In its updated guidance for fully vaccinated people released earlier this month, the CDC said individuals should continue to wear masks and social distance in public, though they do not need to follow these restrictions when gathering indoors with other fully vaccinated people. 

Chelsea Clinton on Wednesday called on Facebook to ban Carlson after a post containing his Tuesday segment became the most popular post on the platform. 

“In December, @facebook banned claims about #covid19 vaccines ‘that have been debunked by public health experts.' And yet,” Clinton tweeted.