After previously saying it would be a mistake for a Food and Drug Administration panel to reject a proposal to give vaccine boosters to a wide range of Americans, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday seemed to backpedal.
On Friday, the FDA panel said boosters should only be given to those over 65 or at high risk of getting a severe case of COVID-19. Although that decision is not binding, its recommendation will likely be followed.
Two days before, Fauci had said “there’s very little doubt that the boosters will be beneficial,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“If they say, ‘We don’t think there’s enough data to do a booster,’ then so be it. I think that would be a mistake, to be honest with you,” he said.
On Sunday, Fauci made the rounds of talk shows to say the decision he claimed would be a mistake less than a week earlier actually was not.
“I don’t think they made a mistake,” he said on CNN.
— The Recount (@therecount) September 19, 2021
“No, I mean, I — you know, when I was saying that [would be a] mistake, my own personal looking at this — again, just because I look at the data and say I would do it this way, that’s the reason why we have qualified groups of people who together as a committee examine all the data and make a decision.
“So I have no problem at all with their decision. The thing that I’m saying is that data will continue to come in and I believe you’re going to see an evolution of this process as we go on in the next several weeks to months.”
Fauci did a similar balancing act on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
WATCH: Biden administration faces booster shot confusion, Trump’s growing hold on GOP pic.twitter.com/Xis37ZkwHt
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) September 19, 2021
“I understand why there might be confusion because I think people were not understanding the difference of planning for something and actually what element of that, what proportion of it you’re actually going to roll out, and that’s exactly what happened,” he said.
When asked whether the FDA’s decision was a mistake on ABC’s “This Week,” he said, “No. Not necessarily at all.”
On ABC's This Week, Dr. Fauci defends Biden getting ahead of the science and announcing a plan to rollout booster shots only for it to be shot down by the FDA. "Isn't a timeline like that just confusing to people," Martha Raddatz asked. Fauci said it wasn't a problem. pic.twitter.com/OsKpWddmNo
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) September 19, 2021
He said the proposed Sept. 20 booster launch date was always just a target in a best-case scenario.
“The plan was that we have to be ready to do this as soon as a decision is made,” he said. “And when you have a plan, you put a date on it, and you say, ‘We want to be able to get ready to roll out on the week of September the 20th.’”