Fauci begs public to get COVID-19 booster shots in last White House appearance


Senate Monkeypox
Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, testifies during the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine stopping the spread of monkeypox, focusing on the Federal response, in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) Cliff Owen/AP

Fauci begs public to get COVID-19 booster shots in last White House appearance

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, used his last appearance at the White House to encourage people to get COVID-19 booster shots.

Fauci, who is set to retire at the end of the year, made the case for people to get an updated booster shot that targets the original strain of the COVID-19 virus from 2020 and omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, pointing to research that says the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing severe illness and death.


“And my final message, maybe the final message I give you from this podium, is that, please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated COVID-19 shot as soon as you’re eligible to protect yourself, your family, and your community. I urge you to visit vaccines.gov to find a location where you can easily get an updated vaccine, and please do it as soon as possible,” Fauci said.

The remarks come as booster uptake has remained lackluster since the updated shots were made available in September. Roughly 35 million, or approximately 11%, of people ages 5 and older in the United States have gotten their updated boosters so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal government purchased over 170 million doses of the updated shots from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna before the boosters were authorized.

Fauci briefly reflected on his decades in government, serving under seven presidents, noting that COVID-19 was only the latest health crisis during his tenure.

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“Well, I think what I’ve accomplished in my 54 years at the NIH and my 38 years as the director of NIAID, although COVID is really, really very important. It is a fragment of the total 40 years that I’ve been doing, and so, I’ll let other people judge the value or not of my accomplishments,” Fauci said. “But I would like people to remember about what I’ve done is that every day for all of those years, I’ve given it everything that I have, and I’ve never left anything on the field. So, if they want to remember me, whether they judge rightly or wrongly what I’ve done, I gave it all I got for many decades.”


Fauci indicated he plans to appear at any congressional oversight hearings to which he is asked to testify after he steps down this year amid several GOP leaders signaling they plan to conduct investigations into the Biden administration’s pandemic spending and the origins of the coronavirus next session.

“I absolutely will cooperate fully and testify before the Congress if asked. You may not know, but I’ve testified before the Congress a few 100 times over the last 40 years or so, so I have no trouble testifying,” Fauci said.

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