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Fauci shoots down Tucker Carlson's 'crazy' COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theory as 'not helpful'

Dr. Anthony Fauci is pushing back against the "crazy" COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theory Fox News host Tucker Carlson floated on his highly-rated show.

In a Tuesday night segment, Carlson questioned why those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are still advised to wear masks and avoid large gatherings, proceeding to baselessly suggest of the vaccines, "Maybe it doesn't work and they're simply not telling you that." Asked to comment on these remarks on CNN on Wednesday, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, dismissed them as "crazy."

"That's just a typical crazy conspiracy theory," Fauci said. "Why would we not tell people if it doesn't work? Look at the data. The data are overwhelming."

Fauci added that "I don't have any idea what he's talking about." Asked by CNN's John Berman how "dangerous" these comments by Carlson are, Fauci said they're "certainly not helpful to the public health of this nation or even globally."

The remarks came at a key time when public health officials were seeking to prevent a rise in vaccine hesitancy after the FDA and CDC recommended a pause in Johnson & Johnson's vaccine due to six cases of blood clots. At a White House briefing on Tuesday, Fauci made the case that this pause serves as evidence of "how seriously we take safety" and should make people more confident in vaccines. He noted that officials are investigating a "very rare event" seeing as just six blood clotting cases have been identified after 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the U.S.

Carlson drew heavy criticism for his baseless vaccine remarks, with former Fox host Gretchen Carlson writing, "For Fox to allow Tucker to go off the rails and tell millions it doesn't work — criminal." Brendan Morrow