Families should require COVID vaccine for indoor holiday gatherings: Is Fauci right?


Fact Box

  • On December, 8, 2021, in an interview with Ms. Stead Sellers via The Washington Post, Dr. Fauci recommended vaccinations during the holidays, saying, “And that’s the reason why people should, if they invite people over their home, essentially ask and maybe require that people show evidence that they are vaccinated, or give their honest and good faith word that they have been vaccinated” because of the “extreme vulnerability” of the unvaccinated.
  • On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization announced a new COVID variant, Omicron (B.1.1.529), first reported from South Africa on November 24, 2021. Delta was the previous COVID variant. 
  • As of December 9, 2021, 200 million people (60.5%) have been fully vaccinated in the United States, while 71.5% have at least one dose. 
  • Johns Hopkins research shows COVID spikes nationwide have been rising at a higher rate than before the vaccines were available despite more than half the country being fully vaccinated.

Andrew (Yes)

Every person makes decisions about their health and the health of their families, often involving who will or will not be allowed into their homes. Asking potential holiday party guests about their vaccination status and requiring proof they have had the jab is a logical step to protect one's family. Many families won't allow smoking in their homes, and some won't allow dogs to attend holiday parties. With a virus that has killed more than 800,000 Americans spreading rapidly, Dr. Fauci is right to suggest that families should require vaccine proof.

Asking friends and relatives about their vaccination status and requiring proof could be an effective way to encourage vaccine holdouts to get their shots. Even though some reports suggest unvaccinated people are much more likely to become critically ill and die from COVID-19 than their vaccinated counterparts, some still refuse to get vaccinated. Vaccines are safe and readily available; There is no reasonable excuse not to have one at this point. Perhaps the added pressure from family members could move these individuals to do the responsible thing and get vaccinated.

Finally, requiring proof of vaccination status for family holiday celebrations makes sense because of the nature of these events. People frequently travel to visit friends and family, meaning their potential exposure would be outside of their usual pattern. Also, many of these gatherings will involve grandparents or other elderly relatives who may be more at risk if they catch one of the current coronavirus strains. Simply asking friends and family about their vaccination status before agreeing to meet with them makes sense to ensure there isn't an elevated risk of exposure.  

Curtice (No)

Americans have survived their day-to-day lives before Dr. Anthony Fauci ever entered their radars in instructing the public what we should or should not do. Yet again, his inner authoritarian tendencies are showing. Fauci recently advised that people require their own family members show evidence of vaccination status before gathering for the holidays. The honor system is not good enough. Instead, he seems to believe Americans hold a higher stake in what he has to say over their family members. 

Yet, what is fully vaccinated? By Fauci's own admission, the definition of 'fully vaccinated' is constantly changing? Fully vaccinated used to mean two doses. Now it means two doses, plus a booster. Or is it two boosters? The goal posts keep changing. Like he kept moving the goal post for herd immunity, Fauci initially said we would achieve herd immunity when the United States reached 60-70% vaccinated. As data shows, we are there

Those who wish to get vaccinated can do so and have. Vaccinations are readily available for all who want them. Those who wish to take additional precautions for themselves, masks, for example, should also be free to do so.  

What is also known is that breakthrough infections among the vaccinated have occurred quite often. The vaccinated can get the virus as well as pass it on. From the outside looking in, it looks again like Dr. Anthony Fauci using the bully pulpit to act like a bully, pushing the free Americans to fit his specific mold of being. Perhaps it's time for Fauci to take a step back and let families enjoy the holidays together as they see fit. There is plenty of information available for all without Fauci interjecting how people should gather.

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