On Monday, May 10, Fox host Tucker Carlson continued to claim that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines encouraging individuals to continue wearing masks after having been vaccinated indicate that health experts are actually misleading the public about the true efficacy of the various COVID-19 vaccination.
Carlson wondered out loud, “If vaccines work, why are any vaccinated people wearing masks ever, anywhere?” Health experts and the CDC have been very clear as to why people should continue to wear a mask despite being vaccinated. As explained by the Cleveland Clinic, there are multiple reasons why vaccinated people should continue to take precautions to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19:
- It takes time for the vaccine to kick in.
- The vaccines do not provide 100% protection.
- Those who have been vaccinated might be asymptomatic spreaders.
- We still need to protect those with compromised immune systems and those who can’t be vaccinated.
- There are still limited doses of the vaccine.
That’s why the CDC continues to recommend — emphasis on recommend — that vaccinated people wear a mask in indoor public settings, in indoor gatherings with unvaccinated people, and when visiting indoors with people at increased risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19.
Carlson has become the network’s nexus of vaccine skepticism, spending months denouncing the effort to get the public vaccinated and insinuating that the vaccines may not be safe or effective and that scientists who say otherwise are lying. Videos of Carlson's anti-vaccine segments have spread across social media. Media Matters found that between April 13 and 16, a clip of Carlson’s April 13 anti-vaccine segment on his show's Facebook page was the most shared video among political news pages, with roughly 43,000 shares.
There are clear consequences to Carlson’s reckless fearmongering about vaccinations and the use of masks. Nearly half of Republicans now say they don’t want a COVID-19 vaccine, and there is no doubt that Carlson and Fox played a part in creating that number.