Dr. Anthony Fauci is “concerned” about the rise of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running for president on a hardline anti-vax message.
In an interview with DailyMail.com, America’s top infectious disease physician also suggested that RFK Jr. in the polls could lead to people ‘needlessly dying’ because they are not vaccinated.
Mr. Kennedy ? who has the support of as many as one in five Democrats and 40 percent of Republicans in some polls ? has long been critical of vaccines, claiming they cause autism and kill more children than they protect.
When asked if Mr Kennedy’s rising popularity was ‘disturbing’, Dr Fauci said: ‘Of course I mean I’m a doctor and vaccines save lives.
?Besides, I’m worried if that’s the case [a rise in] anti vax. People will suffer and die unnecessarily because they don’t get vaccinated.’
In a podcast released on Thursday, viewed by nearly 700,000 people at the time of writing, Mr. Kennedy made one of his most sensational claims to date about vaccines, arguing ‘there is no vaccine that is safe and effective’ .
Dr. Fauci suggested that the rise of RFK Jr. in the polls could lead people to ‘needlessly die’ from not being vaccinated (photo in conversation with DailyMail.com)
Dr. Fauci spoke to DailyMail.com at the 2023 Public Health Solutions gala in Tribeca, Manhattan, earlier this month.
Mr. Kennedy has complained that the media is portraying him as an anti-vaxxer to discredit him and has repeatedly claimed he is actually a ‘pro-safe vaccine’.
On the Lex Fridman podcast, the Democratic presidential nominee was asked to “name any vaccines you think are good.”
Mr. Kennedy replied: ‘I think some of the live virus vaccines probably prevent more problems than they cause.’
He added: “There is no vaccine that is safe and effective.”
Kennedy went on to claim that the polio vaccine – one of the most studied vaccines in existence – has led to an explosion of soft tissue cancers in recent decades that have “killed more people than polio ever did.”
There are no known cases of polio vaccine-related cancer.
Mr. Kennedy may have been referring to a polio vaccine used in America in the 1950s and 1960s that was contaminated with a virus that causes cancer in rodents.
Research suggests that the virus does not cause cancer in humans. By comparison, polio or poliomyelitis, the disease caused by the polio virus, sickens about one in 200 people who contract it.
Paralysis can occur in one in 200 to one in 2,000 people who are not vaccinated.
RFK has also used several high-profile appearances on the Joe Rogan podcast and Jordan Peterson’s show to reiterate the debunked claim that childhood vaccines cause autism.
Critics have accused RFK Jnr of capitalizing on the rise of medical skepticism in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
Mr. Kennedy’s anti-vaccine charity, Children’s Health Defense, saw its revenues more than double in 2020 to $6.8 million, according to filings filed with charity regulators.
His emergence comes at a time when vaccine skepticism is on the rise.
The percentage of U.S. children entering preschool with required vaccinations dropped to 93 percent in the 2021-2022 school year, as much as two percentage points below recommended herd immunity levels and lower than 2020-21 vaccination coverage.
And while about 66 percent of U.S. five-month-olds were aware of all childhood vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2016 through 2019, that number fell to just over 49 percent. by May 2020.
American adults and adolescents have missed more than 37 million routine vaccinations during the Covid pandemic, according to analyses.
Mr Kennedy’s push against the Covid vaccine has at times linked him to anti-democratic figures and groups.
He has appeared at events promoting the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and with people applauding or downplaying the uprising at the Capitol.
Mr. Kennedy has at times invoked his family’s legacy in his anti-vaccine work, sometimes including images of President Kennedy.
His sister Kerry Kennedy, who heads Robert F Kennedy Human Rights, the international rights group founded by their mother, Ethel, said her brother has sometimes removed some of the content at her request.
She told the Associated Press in a 2021 interview that her brother is “completely wrong on this matter and very dangerous.”
RFK Jr. also released a book in 2021, The Real Anthony Fauci, accusing Fauci of aiding “a historic coup against Western democracy” by selling vaccines and drugs to the masses.