Smallpox and polio would still be spreading in the US if “false information” about vaccines was as rampant then as it is now, Dr. Anthony Fauci has claimed.
Fauci, who is the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Saturday that he believes that similar falsehoods would have undermined both successful vaccine drives decades ago.
“If we had the kind of false information that’s being spread now, if we had that back decades ago, I would be certain that we’d still have polio in this country,” Fauci told anchor Jim Acosta on “CNN Newsroom.”
The same kind of misinformation could have potentially prevented smallpox from being eradicated in the US, Fauci said.
“If you look at the extraordinary historic success in eradicating smallpox and eliminating polio from most of the world, and we’re on the brink of eradicating polio, if we had the pushback for vaccines the way we’re seeing on certain media, I don’t think it would have been possible at all to not only eradicate smallpox,” Fauci said.
US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy on Sunday blasted the anti-vaccine information spreading on social media sites, saying that it has deadly consequences.
“I’ve seen that as a doctor over the years as patients have struggled with health misinformation. And here’s the key thing to remember: health misinformation takes away our freedom and our power to make decisions for us and for our families,” Murthy said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“And that’s a problem, and these platforms have to recognize they played a major role in the increase in speed and scale with which misinformation is spreading.”