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Fact Check-Anthony Fauci did not call children ‘test subjects’ in an MSNBC interview

Social media users have shared a fabricated quote attributed to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the White House and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), with a false claim that Dr Fauci called children “test subjects” in an interview with MSNBC.

A graphic has been shared online that features a picture of Dr Fauci with a title that reads: “Fauci accidentally refers to American children as ‘test subjects’ in MSNBC interview.”

A Google search of the exact headline only brought results to meme website ifunny (bit.ly/3QKriIC).

Text beneath the title reads: “‘I encourage all 5–11 year old [sic] test subjects...I mean children...to get vaccinated as quickly as possible,’ Fauci told MSNBC news.”

The image did not link any direct source to the purported quote.

One iteration of the purported quote gathered more than 44,000 views on TikTok at the time of writing (bit.ly/3A15Eca).

Examples of the quote shared online can be found (here), (here), (here), (here) and (here).

Reuters found no evidence of any such comment made by Dr Fauci and the NIAID confirmed to Reuters that the quote was fabricated. MSNBC did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

A search through interviews made by Dr Fauci to the outlet did not reveal the purported comment (here), (here), (here).

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) officially approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children from the ages of 5 to 11 on Nov. 3, 2021, and a day later, Dr Fauci joined Chris Hayes on MSNBC to discuss the distribution of such COVID-19 vaccines (here), (here).

Dr Fauci also spoke with MSNBC’s Halle Jackson in February 2022 where he was asked about COVID-19 vaccines for children under the age of five (3 min 30s) (here).

No such comment was made by Dr Fauci conflating children to test subjects in either interview.

A Google advanced search did not reveal any news outlet reporting any such quote made by the Director of NIAID (archive.ph/lE5aN).

A Twitter advanced search of the term ‘Fauci’ via the MSNBC official Twitter account (@MSNBC) did not reveal any interview where Dr. Fauci referred to children as test subjects (archive.ph/wip/Q8Wfq).

In June 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective as young as 6 months old (here).

VERDICT

False. Dr. Anthony Fauci did not call children “test subjects” in an interview with MSNBC. The quote circulating online is fabricated.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here.

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