In his first address as president on Thursday evening, Biden demanded Americans follow advice from scientists, who he said “have made clear that things may get worse again” as new strains of the virus spread.
“But to get there we can’t let our guard down. This fight is far from over,” he added, calling on those hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to take cues from Dr. Fauci, praising the health expert as “one of the most distinguished and trusted voices in the world.”
“He’s assured us the vaccines are safe and underwent rigorous scientific review. I know they’re safe. Vice President [Kamala] Harris and I know they’re safe,” Biden said.
The advice to take Fauci’s words at face value, however, did not sit well with those pointing to apparent flip-flops by Biden’s chief medical adviser throughout the pandemic, such as his shifting stance on wearing masks. In March of last year, Fauci said that there was no need to be “walking around with a mask on,” though he later defended his comments, saying he wanted to protect the supply of masks for healthcare workers.
Some critics pointed to the health expert’s recent admission that there was no science or data behind the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) advice against air travel for those who have been fully vaccinated.
“And then Biden says we need to ‘listen to Dr. Fauci’ who said this week that he’s going off of his ‘gut’ on whether vaccinated people can travel. Please,” tweeted conservative commentator Katie Pavlich.
And then Biden says we need to “listen to Dr. Fauci” who said this week that he’s going off of his “gut” on whether vaccinated people can travel. Please.
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) March 12, 2021
“The vaccines are safe just listen to Dr. Fauci (because he’s got nothing right and has flip-flopped over everything he said the past year),” another supporter of former President Donald Trump said.
Very disappointing speech. Please don’t mention Dr. Fauci. He’s just a democratic operative.
— TheLeoTerrell (@TheLeoTerrell) March 12, 2021
Biden said that if the vaccination campaign runs smoothly, Americans may be able to afford themselves the luxury of a cookout and a little celebrating on July 4. However, the president demanded that people stay vigilant, noting that state governments may have to reinstate sweeping restrictions if the conditions change.