- The White House missed its goal of vaccinating 70% of US adults by July 4 amid vaccine hesitancy.
- Fauci said he supports vaccine mandates at the local level, like at schools and businesses.
- He also said the vaccines are as good as approved, but that formal full approval may help combat hesitancy.
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday he believes there should be more COVID-19 vaccine mandates at the local level, though he continues to say the federal government will not mandate them.
Fauci, the longtime director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was speaking on CNN's State of the Union when Jake Tapper asked him if he supports local vaccine mandates at places like schools and businesses.
"I do believe at the local level there should be more mandates," Fauci said. "We're talking about life and death situation. We've lost 600,000 Americans already and we're still losing more people. There've been 4 million deaths worldwide, so I am in favor of that."
Fauci said he believes part of the reason groups are hesitant to mandate vaccines is because they have not been fully approved. The coronavirus vaccines used in the US have received emergency use authorization, which can be used by the Food and Drug Administration during public health emergencies. But Fauci said the data behind the vaccines is robust.
"The amount of data right now that shows a high degree of effectiveness and a high degree of safety is more than we've ever seen with emergency use authorization," he said. "These vaccines are as good as officially approved, with all the Is dotted and the Ts crossed."
Fauci said they haven't received full approval due to processes that have to take place at the FDA but that "it's as good as done." He predicted that once they are formally approved, there may be more local mandates.
About 59% of American adults are fully vaccinated, with the US falling short of the White House's goal to have inoculated 70% of adults by July 4. Vaccines are widely available but public health officials are working to combat vaccine hesitancy, particularly among Republicans.
At a Conservative Political Action Conference event in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, a crowd cheered about the US failing to meet its vaccination goal. Speaking on CNN, Fauci called the reaction "horrifying."
"They are cheering about someone saying that it's a good thing for people not to try and save their lives," he said.
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