Dr. Anthony Fauci and Democratic District Mayor Muriel Bowser went door-to-door in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood over the weekend encouraging people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but not all of the residents were happy to see them.
“Fauci spent the Juneteenth holiday Saturday knocking on doors with Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) in D.C.’s majority-Black Ward 8 — the poorest segment of the city and the area with the lowest coronavirus vaccination rate — to talk to residents about the virus’s disproportionately heavy impact on Black Americans and to encourage the residents to get vaccinated if they had not already,” according to The Washington Post.
I tagged along today while Bowser and Fauci went door to door promoting vaccines. We heard the whole spectrum: many people already vaccinated, others with questions or lacking information, and others firmly opposed to the shots. https://t.co/9rqFdRXai2 pic.twitter.com/2iedFLUbpa
— Julie Zauzmer (@JulieZauzmer) June 19, 2021
The Post singled out an exchange Fauci and Bowser had with Gertrude Harrison, an 82-year-old woman who expressed hesitancy at receiving the vaccine.
“Have you gotten your shot?” Bowser asked Harrison, who lives at one of the first houses they visited. Explaining how she avoids shots if she can, Harrison emphatically denied receiving the vaccine, saying, “You know it does other things!”
“I don’t like needles either,” Fauci said in response. “I didn’t even feel it. . . . You know what’s worse than the needle? COVID.”
“We don’t want COVID to get ahold of you,” Bowser added. “We don’t want to see you in a hospital.”
“By the end of the conversation, Bowser connected Harrison with Patrick Ashley, a leader in the city’s health department, and the mayor seemed optimistic that Ashley might be able to convince Harrison to get the shot,” the Post reported. “But a minute after the mayor left her home, Harrison said to a relative: ‘Oh no. I ain’t getting no shot.'”
The Post went on to note that while some of the people Fauci and Bowser spoke to seemed willing to get the vaccine, for which the city is offering $51 gift cards, some were less than impressed that the pair were making the rounds in the poorest part of town.
Tanya Crawford, who said she has no interest in the vaccine, found Bowser’s presence irritating. “When the mayor and her staff walked past, Crawford left the Juneteenth feast she was cooking in her kitchen to shout at them from her porch,” the Post reported.
“She has no presence,” Crawford shouted as Fauci and the mayor walked by with their entourage. “We never see and hear from her. Now you want to come in the neighborhood, in the hood, and say we gotta get vaccinated?”
Crawford told the Post that she would prefer if Bowser focused more on preventing black people from losing their homes or the city’s rampant gun violence. The skyrocketing homicide rate in Washington, D.C., is already outpacing the 16-year high in 2020, with D.C. Police data reporting a 43% jump in 2021.
Another District resident named Nate Ward reportedly scoffed at Fauci when he claimed 600,000 Americans died from the virus.
“He cited a false theory that doctors declared people to have died of coronavirus to receive funding, which Bowser said was untrue,” the Post wrote.