A viral claim stating that 40 to 50 percent of CDC and FDA employees are refusing to take COVID-19 vaccine is found to be fake. The viral hoax originated after Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, ranking member US Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) enquired about the number of employees vaccinated in the health agencies.
The global pandemic, which was first reported in Wuhan province of China in December 2019, has so far infected over 163 million people globally. The vaccine developed to fight the fatal virus has remained engulfed in a series of controversy theories.
Did the Employees Refuse COVID-19 Jabs?
The latest rumor questioning the authenticity of the COVID-19 vaccine started after a clip from the May 11 US Senate committee meeting went viral. The clip features Dr Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration.
During the meeting, Burr asked the trio about the number of their employees who have received the COVID-19 vaccine. "This question, I'm going to go to Dr. Fauci, Dr. Marks, and Dr. Walensky. What percentage of the employees in your institute, your center, or your agency, of your employees, has been vaccinated?" Burr is heard asking.
"I'm not 100% sure, Senator, but I think it's probably a little bit more than half, probably around 60%," Fauci replied.
"I can't tell you the exact number, but it's probably in the same range. Some people vaccinated at our facility, and others outside of the facility," Dr Marks said.
"We're encouraging our employees to get vaccinated. We've been doing town halls and education seminars. Our staff have the option to report their vaccination status, but as you understand, the federal government is not requiring it, so we do not know," said Dr. Walensky.
According to The Blaze, the Senator scolded the officials stating that they were the face of why people should get vaccinated. Stating that they have to make tough decisions, Burr said, "If we're gonna get that last mile coverage, we're gonna have to start portraying that we're willing to do to ourselves what we're asking the American people to do."
Social Media Rages With the Viral Claim
Nowhere in the video did Fauci spoke about the number of employees who are 'refusing to get vaccinated'. Despite this the video was being circulated to strengthen the hoax claim.
Lead Stories stated that the hoax was further amplified after Twitter account @Breaking911 posted "NEW: About 40-50% of CDC, FDA employees are refusing the COVID-19 vaccine according to Fauci, Marks." The tweet which was deleted later, was also posted on Instagram by a user @garbaggio news.
"50% of CDC & FDA employees are refusing to take the vaccine. This should be eye opening, as the ones who know the most about the vaccine are refusing to take it. CDC & FDA employees were the first group to be offered the vaccine and half of them refuse to take it," tweeted a user.
"A little more than half the CDC employees have been vaccinated, yet they've had access to the vaccine for months. Why are close to 50% refusing it? It's almost as if they don't want to be apart of a clinical trial," read another tweet.