Fact Check: Drs. Fauci, Marks Did NOT Say 'About 40 To 50% Of CDC, FDA Employees Are Refusing The COVID-19 Vaccine'

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Drs. Fauci, Marks Did NOT Say 'About 40 To 50% Of CDC, FDA Employees Are Refusing The COVID-19 Vaccine' Not Asked

Are "about 40 To 50% Of CDC, FDA employees" refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Drs. Anthony Fauci and Peter Marks? No, that is not true. Fauci, who is director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Food and Drug Administration officer Marks testified before the U.S. Senate on May 11, 2021, where they were asked how many of their employees were vaccinated. Fauci and Marks told the Senate it was probably about 60%, which is higher than the 47% of U.S. adults who are fully vaccinated. They weren't asked if anyone was refusing the vaccine, and they did not say that anyone was "refusing" the vaccine.

The claim appeared as a post (archived here) where it was published on Instagram on May 15, 2021. It opened:

New: About 40 to 50% of CDC, FDA employees are refusing the COVID-19 vaccine according to Fauci, Marks

Social media users saw this:

Screen Shot 2021-05-17 at 1.40.13 PM.png

The Instagram message showed a tweet from the Twitter account @Breaking911 which has since been deleted. An archived version of the Tweet can be found on Wayback Machine here:

Screen Shot 2021-05-17 at 1.21.32 PM.png

While testifying in front of the United States Senate on the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak on May 11, 2021, Fauci, director National Institute Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) at the Food and Drug Administration; and Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were asked about staff vaccinations by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

They were not asked how many of their employees were "refusing" a vaccine, they were asked how many had received a COVID-19 vaccine. They were not asked if any of the employees had "refused" a vaccine and they did not state any had "refused" a vaccine.

Burr's question begins at 2 hours, 20 minutes,21 seconds in the YouTube video of the testimony.

Here is a transcript of the question from the senator and the answers from Fauci, Marks and Walensky:

Senator Burr:
Okay. 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?
Dr. Anthony Fauci:
I'm not 100% sure, Senator, but I think it's probably a little bit more than half, probably around 60%.
Senator Burr:
Dr. Marks?
Dr. Peter Marks:
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.
Senator Burr:
Dr. Walensky?
Dr. Rochelle Walensky:
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.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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