Tuesday on FNC’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson opened his program by reacting to an announcement earlier in the day that health officials were recommending to halt the distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Carlson said overall, the announcement warranted skepticism about the vaccine’s efficacy and pointed to remarks from Biden health adviser Anthony Fauci and CDC director Rochelle Walensky.
Transcript as follows:
CARLSON: We’ve heard an awful lot about the coronavirus vaccine over the last several months. It’s a massive achievement as a scientific matter, something all Americans can be proud of, but that’s not the context in which we’ve heard about it.
Joe Biden’s first speech to the country urged the entire population to take this vaccine immediately. The celebrity industrial complex has reinforced that demand ever since, “Get the shot. Get the shot. Get the shot.” OK, we will. We’re not against it on principle.
Like almost every American, we’re grateful for vaccines, but before we take this one, a few questions about it, about this specific vaccine. There are two things we’d like to know and neither one has anything to do with how many professional athletes or Netflix stars have been vaccinated so far. We don’t care. It’s irrelevant.
Here is what is relevant. The first question: is the vaccine safe? The second question: is it effective?
Safe and effective. That is all that matters, so let’s address those questions in order tonight.
From the moment the first shipments arrived in the U.S., we were assured that this was the safest vaccine science has ever produced. The risks of taking it were so small that we could ignore them completely, quote: “The worst thing that could happen,” explained one medical expert on ABC News, ” … is having an allergic reaction.” Clinical trials they said revealed no evidence at all that the vaccines could cause any life-threatening condition.
In February, an infectious disease researcher at the University of Rochester called Dr. Angela Branche explained that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was especially safe. “The bottom line,” Branche said is that nobody who has gotten these vaccines has died from COVID. Sure, as far as we know, that remains true. That vaccine does not cause COVID.
But that was hardly the bottom line or the end of the story. In fact, we now know that there are people who have become gravely ill from taking that vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Some patients who received it developed complex and still poorly understood immune system responses. Their bodies suddenly stopped developing adequate blood platelets. This led to bleeding and dangerous clotting.
According to the FDA, at least six young women experienced this response to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, one of them, a 45-year-old woman in Virginia who died of a stroke last month, two months — two weeks rather after getting the vaccine.
Another woman who apparently lives in Nebraska is in critical condition in a hospital tonight. That’s pretty much the extent of what we know. The government hasn’t told us more.
So what does this mean exactly? How significant is it?
Well, if it happened to you or someone you loved, it would of course be highly significant. But here’s the context statistically. About seven million Americans have received the Johnson & Johnson shot so far. We know of six who have developed a blood clotting disorder as a result.
By comparison, for some context, some versions of the birth control pill are believed to cause blood clots in about one out of every thousand women. That’s a far higher rate.
So why the concern about this vaccine? Well, because there are reasons to believe those in fact are not the real numbers. The real numbers may be much higher than that.
Why do we think that? Well, this morning, Federal health authorities including the FDA and the CDC called on state governments to stop administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
According to no less than Tony Fauci, this ban could be permanent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Are you ruling out the possibility that the vaccine could be removed from the market? I mean, are you ruling out that — are you expecting it to be re-allowed?
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You know, I think it would be premature to comment on that and that’s the reason why the pause was done so that they could take a good look at it. Very carefully look at every different factor.
I wouldn’t want to speculate as to what would happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Notice the cageyness there. It’s premature, I wouldn’t want to speculate says a man who speculates for a living.
In the statement you just saw, Tony Fauci is asking us to believe something that is amazing, if you think about it.
For months, he and the rest of the public health establishment have been badgering the country to take a vaccine they claim is absolutely perfectly safe. That’s what they told us until yesterday.
Now, Fauci has declared that because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has injured six people, if that’s true, by the way, it would make that vaccine much safer not simply than birth control pills, but much safer than many other vaccines we’ve distributed in the past.
Because this one vaccine has hurt six people out of seven million, we need to stop using it immediately. Does that make sense to you? No, it really doesn’t.
It seems possible there may be more going on here. It is possible in fact that this vaccine is more dangerous than they are indicating it is, and Federal authorities today appeared to acknowledge that.
They noted that it’s easy for physicians to miss the connection between the vaccine and the blood disorder it can cause that may be happening.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is structured very much like the AstraZeneca vaccine which also uses DNA technology. Across Europe, the AstraZeneca vaccine has been linked to blood clotting at a rate of approximately one in a 100,000 patients. Several people have died from it and that’s why a number of advanced countries including the U.K., Denmark, Canada, Germany, the Philippines have limited or banned the use of the AstraZeneca shot.
So do authorities in this country believe that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been causing reactions at a similar rate? We don’t know the answer to that because they have not told us.
We do know that the way this country keeps track of Americans who are hurt by vaccines, something called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is notoriously inaccurate. Ask any physician.
But no one seems in a hurry to improve it. Our public health bureaucracy doesn’t seem that anxious to know all of the details.
In January, The New York Times reported that an obstetrician in Miami Beach called Gregory Michael had died of a brain hemorrhage just days after taking another vaccine, the one made by Pfizer. There seemed to be a potential connection between that shot and his death.
At the time, the authorities at CDC said they were investigating Dr. Gregory’s death, yet so far they’ve issued no update on it.
Now sometimes this stuff takes time to work out, and the fact they haven’t issued report does not prove that they are hiding something. On the other hand, it does seem a little weird given that right now, the Federal government is encouraging the entire population of America to take the vaccine immediately.
You’d think understanding — fully understanding — the potential side effects would be an urgent top priority, but it’s clearly not an urgent top priority.
In its story about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this morning, Axios reported that the Biden administration is worried that halting distribution of the shot might encourage quote “vaccine hesitancy.” In other words, don’t tell them it’s dangerous they might not take it. That doesn’t reassure anyone.
All of which leads to the second essential question: is the vaccine effective? Does it work? Well, of course it works and that’s why they’re giving it to the entire population. That’s why this vaccine rollout is more important than the moonshot because it works. The President himself told us that.
The funny thing is, if you listen carefully, they’re not really saying that anymore. They’re not really telling you how effective it is. They are telling you the opposite.
Here’s the new Director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky speaking yesterday about the vaccine. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: So when you have an acute situation, an extraordinary number of cases like we have in Michigan, the answer is not necessarily to give vaccine. In fact, we know that the vaccine will have a delayed response.
The answer to that is to really close things down, to go back to our basics, to go back to where we were last spring, last summer and to shut things down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Oh, now they’re telling us the vaccine has a delayed response. OK. Delayed by how long? They don’t say.
They do tell us we have to shut things down just like we did last year before we had a vaccine, but now we have a vaccine, so why are we shutting them down again? What is going on here?
We’re not sure. We do know what you just heard is not science. There’s a lot of evidence that flatly contradicts what the CDC Director just told you. For example, in early March, Texas ended its lockdowns and its mask mandates completely. The Governor of California looking over at the state to which his whole population is moving called this move absolutely reckless.
Vanity Fair which believe it or not was once a magazine published a story with the headline “Republican Governors Celebrate COVID Anniversary with Bold Plan to Kill another Half Million Americans.”
Tony Fauci who apparently still reads “Vanity Fair,” he is the only one, agreed, quote: “It’s just inexplicable why you would want to pull back now.” Inexplicable? Well, here’s an explanation. We have a vaccine. Isn’t that the point of the vaccine? So we can pull back now and get back to normal life. Whatever, shut up.
An epidemiologist called Whitney Robinson jumped in immediately to back Fauci up, quote: “I feel genuinely sad. There are people who are going to get sick and die because of avoidable infections they get in the next few weeks. It’s demoralizing.”
Over at CDC, Rochelle Walensky pleaded for Americans to ignore the promised effects of the vaccines they are now required to get. “Please hear me clearly,” she wrote, “At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. I’m really worried about reports that more states are pulling back the exact public health measures we’ve recommended to protect people from COVID-19.” End quote.
Which by the way are not helping demonstrably that’s why we got the vaccine which was going to fix everything, but it didn’t. What is going on here? And what happened next more to the point? What did the data tell us?
Well in Texas, the state’s hospitalization rate and seven-day rate of COVID infections did not rise. They dropped to record lows. You’re seeing the data on your screen right now. Cases have continued to plummet in Texas over the last month. They are down around 30 percent. Texas now ranks in the bottom 10 of all 50 states in coronavirus cases. Daily deaths have dropped substantially.
So Tony Fauci was asked, someone finally asked him, how did this happen? How do you explain this? He couldn’t explain it. “I’m not really quite sure,” Fauci said. “It could be they’re doing things outdoors.” Well maybe. Maybe they got vaccinated. Wasn’t that the point?
But Fauci didn’t suggest that. He didn’t even hint that the vaccine might have worked and that’s odd. Does that tell us that Tony Fauci believes the vaccine is ineffective? He seems to think that.
Here he is telling you that once you get the vaccine, you are still not allowed to eat or drink indoors at restaurants. Your life can’t really change at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Eating and drinking indoors in restaurants and bars, is that OK now?
FAUCI: No, it’s still not OK for the simple reason that the level of infection, the dynamics of infection in the community are still really disturbingly high.
And if you are vaccinated, please remember that you still have to be careful and not get involved in crowded situations particularly indoors where people are not wearing masks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: That’s not what we expected at all to hear, but the CDC has affirmed that Fauci is right. According to the CDC’s new guidance, once you’ve been vaccinated, you still cannot quote, “attend medium or large gatherings.”
The Federal health authorities also recommend that you continue to wear your mask when you go outside. How long will this continue? Well according to Yahoo News, experts say, it is quote, “not entirely clear” when it will be considered OK for people who are fully vaccinated to stop wearing masks.
At some point, no one is asking this, but everyone should be, what is this about? If vaccines work, why are vaccinated people still banned from living normal lives? Honestly, what’s the answer to that? It doesn’t make any sense at all. If the vaccine is effective, there is no reason for people who have received the vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact.
So maybe it doesn’t work and they’re simply not telling you that. Well, you hate to think that especially if you’ve gotten two shots, but what’s the other potential explanation? We can’t think of one.
We know the Prime Minister of Canada has decided after thinking about it a lot that vaccines just don’t work and we know that because he said it out loud. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: I think it’s really important that we work from facts and understanding of the science around things.
We know for example that the U.K. is ahead of just about everybody else on vaccinations and yet they maintain very strong restrictions and are facing a very serious third wave. Vaccinations on their own are not enough to keep us safe. We need to engage in the right kinds of behaviors, do things that the conservatives aren’t always good at like wearing masks, keeping distances and obeying public health rules.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So the leader of Canada, our closest ally, just explained on television that according to the science, the vaccine doesn’t stop COVID. Well, if that’s true, why are they pushing everyone to get the vaccine? It’s really one or the other either.
Either the coronavirus shot works or it doesn’t, but the shot can’t be simultaneously highly effective, but not restore people’s lives to normal. It doesn’t make sense. They don’t tell you to avoid water fountains after you get the polio vaccine. They don’t need to tell you that because the polio vaccine works.
So there’s a legitimate public health mystery here at the very heart of the most aggressive vaccination campaign in the history of the country. Now you would think that journalists might spend a little time sorting this out for the rest of us, that’s their job. Isn’t that their job?
It’s a major important story. What’s the answer? It’s not their job though. Reporters have decided that their job is to enforce the regime’s rules whatever those rules are and no matter how often or radically those rules change.
We know that because this weekend, that weird little guy on CNN demanded that FOX News produce vaccine selfies to demonstrate our obedience to the Biden administration. If you haven’t seen this clip, treat yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I think it’s really important to see all these TV anchors, personalities showing themselves getting the shot. We’ve seen a lot of vaccine selfies from lots of folks at lots of different networks. It’s been really inspiring to see.
Why do you think we haven’t seen the biggest stars on FOX News get vaccinated or show us their vaccine selfies?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Where are your vaccine selfies? He said. You’ve got to watch the whole thing. Everyone is doing it, he said. All the kids are doing it. “The Today Show” did it. Why aren’t you doing it? It’s hilarious.
If the Biden administration announced tomorrow that 350 million Americans had to get microchips implanted in their ears to slow the spread of COVID, CNN would demand microchip selfies to prove you got one. No wonder no one believes the media anymore. No wonder paranoia is growing.
This is very counterproductive. If you want people to have confidence in legitimate science and you do, it should be legitimate. You should stop politicizing science. You should stop lying all the time. You should answer basic questions.
If you’re a scientist, you should act like one. You shouldn’t act like a flak, maybe people will believe you. That’s the opposite of what’s happening.
Three days ago, CNN ran a piece complaining that some enlisted members of the Marine Corps — you’re going to find this hard to believe — had turned down the coronavirus vaccine and this infuriated them, quote: “Nearly 40 percent of Marines have declined the COVID-19 vaccine,” they screeched. Unfortunately, the channel lamented quote, “The military cannot make the vaccines mandatory now because they only have emergency use authorizations from the FDA.” What a shame.
They should have made the Johnson & Johnson vaccine mandatory, make every Marine to — oh wait, oh we just pulled it off the market. Right? Maybe, let the scientists do their jobs and let people decide. Their body is their choice.
Over at MSNBC, the crack reporting team there figured out why this is happening. It turns out that enlisted marines are racist. They watch FOX News. They drive pickup trucks and that’s why they have vaccine hesitancy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: I want to ask both of you about right-wing media and their influence on either, you know, again emboldening sort of the racist or intolerant views of what is just a reflection, I guess, of what is in our society at this hour, at this moment, at this time and how much of that is sort of cheered? I mean, is there a propaganda problem?
I read that 40 percent of, I think Marines don’t want to get the COVID vaccine. You see this rise of extremism. I mean, what is the role of right- wing media in sort of spreading and fomenting some of those views, Paul?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Fomenting some of those views. Oh, those questions, about medicine people are asking you to take? Right? If you’ve got questions, you’re a right-wing extremist QAnon bigot. Got it. That’s their position. No more questions. Shut up.
Thankfully this is still a free country or at least tonight we’re going to pretend it is. We do have questions. They’re very simple. Is the vaccine safe? Is it effective? And we’re thankful to be able to ask an actual authority on the subject.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor