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• Dr. Anthony Fauci did not indicate at any point in a 90-second comment that lockdowns should be used as a tool of coercion. He was specifically talking about vaccine efficacy and uptake in China, where there is an ongoing lockdown.
A social media post misleads by showing a truncated version of a comment from Dr. Anthony Fauci that is missing context.
An April 19 post on Facebook suggests that Fauci said lockdowns are a method for coercing people to comply with COVID-19 vaccinations.
The post shows a screenshot of a headline that says, "Fauci: ‘You use lockdowns to get people vaccinated,’" from conservative news site the Daily Wire. The caption says, "That's called tyranny."
The post also includes a meme showing the character Fred from Scooby Doo unmasking Fauci to reveal the emblem of the Chinese Communist Party. The meme gives the disturbing appearance of resembling a beheading.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
But Fauci’s comment was taken out of context — in an MSNBC interview, he was talking specifically about vaccine efficacy and uptake in China, where there is an ongoing lockdown. And he did not indicate at any point in his 90-second reply that lockdowns should be used as a tool of coercion, as the post implies.
He made the remark during an April 14 interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, in reply to a question about China’s current approach to COVID-19. At the 6:54 mark in the video, Mitchell asked, "How concerning is the outbreak in China?" and mentioned the ongoing, near-total lockdown in Shanghai.
Part of Fauci’s reply was, "You use lockdowns to get people vaccinated so that when you open up, you won't have a surge of infections, because you're dealing with an immunologically naive population to the virus, because they've not really been exposed because of the lockdown."
He went on to say, around the 8:25 mark, that people in China are not well-protected by vaccines — in part because China is using less effective vaccines than many other countries — and that its most vulnerable population, older people, are not vaccinated.
His observations about vaccinations in China are borne out by recent reporting.
China "is struggling with two problems as it faces its worst COVID-19 surge since the start of the pandemic," according to an April 20 story in the Financial Times. The problems are "the sluggish take-up of booster doses — authorities said this week that only 57 per cent of people over 60 have been fully vaccinated with three jabs — and homegrown vaccines that are much less effective than foreign-produced jabs."
But the first portion of Fauci’s comment — that "you use lockdowns to get people vaccinated" — was seized upon by people such as Dr. Simone Gold, a founder of America’s Frontline Doctors, which became famous for voicing coronavirus conspiracy theories.
Gold tweeted on April 19, "Fauci is essentially admitting that lockdowns were used to condition and control the public—putting people in such a heightened state of desperation for freedom as to compel us to take the vaccine."
The story that the Facebook post references, from the Daily Wire, gives a more complete accounting of Fauci’s comments, but it also gives the misleading impression that Fauci is a supporter of China’s style of lockdowns.
For example, the story quotes a fragment of one of Fauci’s comments — that China’s type of strict lockdowns would never be able to be implemented in the United States, "although that prevents the spread of infection" — even though Fauci never said or implied that the U.S. should employ those types of lockdowns.
A Facebook post suggests that Fauci said lockdowns are a method for coercing people to comply with COVID-19 vaccinations.
The claim includes a truncated version of Fauci’s comments that was taken out of context.
In his 90-second reply, he talked specifically about vaccine efficacy and uptake in China, where there is an ongoing lockdown.
And Fauci did not indicate at any point that lockdowns should be used as a tool of coercion, as the post implies.
We rate this claim False.
Daily Wire, "Fauci: ‘You Use Lockdowns To Get People Vaccinated,’"April 15, 2022
Facebook post, April 19, 2022
Financial Times, "Scientists urge China to replace its faltering Covid vaccines," April 20, 2022
NPR, "In its 3rd week in lockdown, Shanghai reported 23,000 new COVID cases today," April 15, 2022
PolitiFact, "Simone Gold," accessed April 22, 2022
Twitter post, April 19, 2022
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