Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director and White House Chief Medical Advisor, said Friday that U.S. military personnel who opt out of receiving the coronavirus vaccine are inadvertently “part of the problem” of hurting efforts to end the pandemic.
“You’re part of the solution to this outbreak,” Fauci stated at town hall with Blue Star Families, a non-profit which aides U.S. military families, according to CNBC.
“Because by getting infected, even though you may not know it, you may be inadvertently transmitting the infection to someone else, even though you have no symptoms,” the official continued. “In reality, like it or not, you’re propagating this outbreak. So instead of being part of the solution, you are innocently and inadvertently being part of the problem by not getting vaccinated.”
“You’ve got to think of your own health, which is really very important, but you got to think about your societal obligation, including people close to you personally as well as other members of families of other individuals,” he added.
Approximately one-third of U.S. military service members have chosen not to take the coronavirus, according to the Department of Defense.
Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby said that there was no detailed military-wide data on vaccinations, but said more than 916,500 had been administered so far.
Kirby said the level of refusal is on par with that of the general population, where the vaccine has not been offered nearly as widely.
“We in the military basically mirror the acceptance rates of American society,” Kirby told reporters.
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.