Dr. Anthony Fauci said he respects Americans' freedoms, but the current public health crisis has convinced him "enough is enough" in a conversation with CNN about public and private vaccine mandates.
Following the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week, CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Fauci Monday how much of a difference it would make if public and private employers began mandating vaccinations. Fauci acknowledged the FDA approval would be an incentive for companies and institutions to begin mandating the shot, adding he believes it would be a "good thing."
"I respect people’s freedom, but when you’re talking about a public health crisis, that we've been going through now for well over a year and a half, the time is come, enough is enough," Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, told Cooper. "We've just got to get people vaccinated."
Fauci also appeared to have mixed feelings about individual freedoms during the pandemic ahead of South Dakota's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally earlier this month, when he urged attendees to forego the entertainment and stay home for the greater good.
"There comes a time when you're dealing with a public health crisis, that could involve you, your family, and everyone else that something supersedes that need to do exactly what you want to do," Fauci said.
"You’re going to get to do that in the future, but let's get this pandemic under control before we start acting like nothing is going on," he continued. "I mean, something bad is going on."
Fauci's comments have had the opposite effect he's intended and have discouraged people from getting vaccinated, some critics charged, taking particular offense to the epidemiologist's use of the word "but."
Fauci told Cooper if most eligible Americans get vaccinated, the U.S. could have the pandemic under control by spring 2022.