Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Dr. Rochelle Walensky three times whether she would publicly contradict false statements made by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and all three times Walensky responded by pushing COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone who was eligible to get one.
Walensky, who serves as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), joined Baier on “Fox News Sunday” to discuss everything from the CDC’s newly-relaxed guidance on testing and isolation to the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates for health care workers and for corporations that employ more than 100 people — and Baier did not hesitate to press Walensky on apparently false claims Sotomayor made during those oral arguments.
Baier began with a direct quote from Sotomayor, who claimed, “We have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in serious condition and many on ventilators.”
“What we can find from Friday suggest there are fewer than 3500 current pediatric hospitalizations from COVID-19. Is that true?” Baier asked.
“Yeah, but here’s what I can tell you about our pediatric hospitalizations now,” Walensky replied, going on to say that the majority of hospitalized children were unvaccinated and of those who were not eligible for the vaccine, the majority had gotten COVID-19 from their unvaccinated family members. “First of all, the vast majority of children who are in the hospital are unvaccinated, and for those children who are not eligible for vaccination, we do know that they are most likely to get sick with COVID if their family members aren’t vaccinated, so the most important thing we can do for those children to keep them out of the hospital is to vaccinate them and to vaccinate their family members around them.”
“Understood, but the number is not 100,000, it’s roughly 3500 in hospitals now,” Baier pushed back.
Walensky agreed, but quickly pivoted to data suggesting those numbers were increasing.
“Do you have a number of children on ventilators?” Baier asked.
“I do not have that off the top of my head,” she said, but immediately redirected to the vaccine once again, saying that being vaccinated would reduce the number of children who needed to be put on ventilators and the number who might deal with other possible complications of the virus.
“The risk of death or serious illness in children is still very small, right?” Baier asked then.
“Comparatively the risk of death is small,” Walensky agreed, adding, “But of course, you know, children aren’t supposed to die, so if we have a child who’s been – who is sick with COVID-19, we want to make sure – we want to protect them of course.”
“But I’m talking from your data, ages 15 to 24, for example, the risk of death is at 0.001%,” Baier persisted. “I guess what I’m getting at in this opening is that the Supreme Court is in the process of dealing with this big issue about mandates, and do you feel responsibility as the CDC director to correct a very big mischaracterization by one of the Supreme Court justices?”
“Do you feel a responsibility as the CDC director to correct a very big mischaracterization by one of the Supreme Court justices?”
WALENSKY: “Yeah, um, here’s what I’ll tell you…my responsibility is to provide guidance and recommendations to protect the American people.” pic.twitter.com/tlZcL7tux7
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 9, 2022
Walensky did not make the correction, instead pivoting once more to the data on how vaccination impacted the probability that one might need hospitalization or even die fro COVID-19.
“What my responsibility is is to provide guidance and recommendations to protect the American people. Those recommendations strongly recommend vaccination for our children above the age of 5 and boosting for everyone above the age of 18 if they are eligible,” she said.
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