Fauci on DC vaccine rollout: ‘We’ve got to do better with younger people’

Overall, 64% adults in the U.S. have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according CDC data. In D.C., 58% of all residents are partially or fully vaccinated. But the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert wants more.

“The only issue, Madam Mayor, is, we’ve got to do better with younger people,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at a Friday event hosted by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Nearly 60% of the total population in Maryland has at least one dose of the vaccine. Virginia’s one-or-more-dose rate is nearly 57%, according to WTOP’s vaccination tracker.

Fauci acknowledged that younger people who feel invulnerable usually aren’t enthusiastic about getting vaccinated.

“But they’ve got to realize that not only do they need the vaccine to protect themselves and their family; we’ve got to protect the community,” Fauci said.

Fauci also emphasized that getting vaccinated prevents people from spreading the virus to other people.

“You’re protecting yourself, and you’re preventing the virus from using you as a vehicle of spread. And that’s why we’ve got to get people vaccinated, particularly young people,” he said.

At “Fauci and Friends: A Fireside Chat with Dr. Fauci and DC Healthcare Leaders,” Bowser noted that the city declared last Dec. 24 Anthony Fauci Day to mark his 80th birthday.

“I think if you didn’t tell people which birthday it was, they wouldn’t know,” Bowser said. “How do you stay so fit and vibrant going to work every single day?” she asked.

Fauci said he exercises every day (and encouraged others to do so to the extent they can), is a repeat runner of the Marine Corps and New York Marathons and 10Ks, doesn’t smoke, rarely drinks and has a supportive wife.

“But I think it’s also the passion for what you do to keep you excited about getting up in the morning and going to work,” he said.

That doesn’t mean you need to be a doctor or scientist, he said. “Anything you do, if you get excited about what you’re doing and you’re making a contribution in some way or other — that really keeps you vibrant and young.”

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Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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