(CNSNews.com) - Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN on Sunday he is "in favor" of vaccination mandates.
Jake Tapper, host of CNN's State of the Union, asked Fauci, "[D]o you think it's generally a good idea for businesses or schools to require vaccinations?"
"I have been of this opinion, and I remain of that opinion, that I do believe, at the local level, Jake, there should be more mandates," Fauci responded.
There really should be. We're talking about life-and-death situation. We have lost 600,000 Americans already, and we're still losing more people. There have been four million deaths worldwide. This is serious business. So, I am in favor of that.
One of the things that will happen -- and I think the hesitancy at the local level of doing mandates is because the vaccines have not been officially fully approved. But people need to understand that the amount of data right now that shows a high degree of effectiveness and a high degree of safety is more than we have ever seen with emergency use authorization.
So these vaccines are as good as officially approved with all the I's dotted and the T's crossed. It hasn't been done yet because the FDA has to do certain things, but it's as good as done.
So, people should really understand that. But they are waiting now until you get an official approval before-- And I think, when you do see the official approval, Jake, you are going to see a lot more mandates.
On the question of booster shots, which Pfizer is now urging, Fauci said "there's a lot of work going on" to see if a third dose is necessary.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement, saying:
Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. FDA, CDC, and NIH are engaged in a science-based, rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary. This process takes into account laboratory data, clinical trial data, and cohort data – which can include data from specific pharmaceutical companies, but does not rely on those data exclusively. We continue to review any new data as it becomes available and will keep the public informed. We are prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates that they are needed.
Fauci said even if the FDA and CDC change their minds about booster shots, it should not be viewed as flip-flopping:
"[I]f you're looking at formal recommendations from organizations, it's always based on data. And as we have said so many times, Jake, data evolves. You get more information as the time goes by.
"So, when you get to the point where you have enough information to make a firm recommendation, that is not flip-flopping. That is making recommendations as the data evolve. And I know, sometimes, it's difficult to understand that, but that's what happens when you get formal recommendations from organizations like the CDC and like the FDA."
Fauci said he can't understand why so many Americans are refusing to get the "lifesaving" vaccines that are widely available in this country. He described the attitude as "ideological rigidity."
"There's no reason not to get vaccinated," Fauci said:
There are places in the world, many places, where the vaccination availability is practically nil. Those people would do anything to get a vaccine.
We in the United States have enough vaccinations to give to everybody in the country. And they are lifesaving. I mean, we have got to put aside this ideological difference or differences thinking that somebody is forcing you to do something. The public health officials, like myself and my colleagues, are asking you to do something that will ultimately save your life and that of your family and that of the community.
So...I don't know. I really don't have a good explanation, Jake, about why this is happening. I mean, it's ideological rigidity, I think. There's no reason not to get vaccinated.
Why are we having red states and places in the South that are very highly ideological in one way not wanting to get vaccinations? Vaccinations have nothing to do with politics. It's a public health issue. It doesn't matter who you are. The virus doesn't know whether you're a Democrat, a Republican or an independent. For sure, we know that.
And yet there is that divide of people wanting to get vaccinated and not wanting to get vaccinated, which is really unfortunate, because it's losing lives.