Fauci slams Tucker Carlson's "crazy conspiracy theory" about vaccine efficacy

Patterico’s already said everything that needs saying about Carlson’s show last night, so if you want to read him instead of me, hop to it. I’m eager to see how Tucker plays the victim on tonight’s program after taking tons of heat today over his comments. My guess is a pinch of “just asking questions,” a dollop of “you’re taking me out of context,” and a heaping scoop of theatrical populist indignation at having been criticized by Fauci himself.

He starts out reasonably enough, seemingly making a rhetorical point we’ve made here many times: If the vaccines dramatically reduce your risk of infection, why are experts like Fauci constantly urging vaccinated people to keep taking precautions? The point of that criticism isn’t that the vaccines don’t work, though. It’s that the public-health bureaucracy is being absurdly overcautious because the vaccines do work. If we left it up to Fauci, the theory goes, we’d be in lockdown forever even after vaccinations have made socializing safe.

It sounds like that’s where Tucker’s going initially, the common (and correct) critique that Fauci is underselling the vaccine. But it isn’t. Quote:

So maybe it doesn’t work and they’re simply not telling you that. Well you hate to think that, especially if you’ve gotten two shots. But what’s the other potential explanation? We can’t think of one. We know the Prime Minister of Canada has decided, after thinking about it a lot, that vaccines just don’t work — and we know that, because he said it out loud.”

Trudeau said no such thing, as Patterico demonstrates. He’s simply of the Faucian mindset that vaccines alone aren’t enough to keep everyone safe at a moment when a country has yet to reach herd immunity. Even after herd immunity, some low level of spread will happen. That doesn’t mean the efficacy of the vaccines is in doubt, it means they can’t keep the population perfectly safe — especially if a meaningful share refuse to get immunized.

I wonder why they’d do that:

A new poll from Monmouth today shows vaccine refusal is down slightly among Democrats since March, down meaningfully among independents, and up among Republicans, no doubt partly due to anti-vax propaganda being mainstreamed in some righty media outlets:

Some Republicans are going to die because partisan media figures whom they trust are leading them to doubt the safety and efficacy of the vaccines without reason. When “the pandemic’s wrongest man,” Alex Berenson, was recently scrutinized by The Atlantic for his populist-pleasing vaccine alarmism and COVID skepticism, guess whose TV show he went running to in order to defend himself. The upshot from all this may be “islands” of infection in right-leaning rural areas later this year even after most of the population has been vaccinated. The more rural people agree are convinced the vaccines don’t work or are dangerous, the greater the odds of further outbreaks ravaging their communities and potentially breeding variants that’ll threaten even people who’ve had their shots.

Fauci was asked about Carlson’s segment this morning by CNN and said the only thing he could say: It’s crank stuff.

I’ll leave you with this, from an Israeli scientist who periodically posts updates on his country’s progress. Bear in mind that Israel reopened businesses a month ago to vaccinated people and that the very contagious British variant of the virus is/was common there, all of which should logically mean lots of infection. As it is, they’re down to 200 cases a day, their lowest daily count since mid-June of last year. Again: I wonder why.