Make way for Dr. Fauci, the newest resident of the TikTok "Hype House." Instead of strategizing solutions to combat the ominous COVID-19 delta variant, Fauci has gone on a full-blown media blitz, not with global health leaders or journalists, but TikTokers.
In the PSA-style ad campaign marketed with the hashtag #MadetoSave, Fauci attempts to tackle "misinformation" on the vaccine through conversations with teenage Internet personalities from Jacob Sartorius to Christina Najjar aka "Tinx" and even former Dance Moms stars, Nia Sioux and MacKenzie Ziegler, three of whom are 20 years old or younger.
Fauci is now giving Generation Z advice on how to have a "Vax Girl Summer,” as Najjar called it.
In one video Fauci makes jokes about socializing during the pandemic as Najjar smirked in approval, alluding to her drinking problem.
“I would say it’s safe to go out to get one drink, two drinks,” Fauci said.
Najjar laughed on and proceeded to talk about her botox, which further discredited the entirety of the PSA.
Although Fauci marketed the project as an attempt to crack down on vaccine “misinformation,” he instead participated in conversation about Najjar’s plastic surgery routine.
“I’ll tell my botox doctor she can have a raise,” Najjar said after Fauci claimed she had an "ageless" look.
The fact that Fauci is actively engaging in this type of millennial humor on the American taxpayer’s dollar discredits his authority as director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The pandemic is not a joke, but a dangerous, potential lethal threat, yet Fauci continues to engage in jovial conversation on the matter.
Fauci moves on to debunk “rumors” and “myths” concerning fertility issues and the risks of young and/or pregnant women getting the vaccine, when in reality, medical researchers’ findings tell a different story.
“That’s nonsense; it doesn’t interfere,” Fauci insists. "There have been tens of thousands of women who have been vaccinated while pregnant and there's no problem at all."
In another video, Fauci reiterates this claim.
“There’s no evidence at all that it affects fertility,” Fauci said. “In fact, many, many of the people who’ve gotten vaccinated have gotten pregnant. Tens and tens of thousands of women have been vaccinated while pregnant and then while breastfeeding, no negative effects that [sic] have been noticed.”
Yet a 2021 study, an analysis of sex hormones and menstruation in COVID-19 women of child-bearing age, concluded that 25 and 28 percent of vaccinated women tested respectively experienced changes in their menstrual cycle and volume.
Regarding menstrual volume, “out of these 45 individuals, 36 experienced a significantly lighter period while 9 had a significantly heavier period.”
Fauci tells Sartorius that people’s concerns about long-term negative health impacts of the vaccine are “ridiculous myths.”
“You've got to use your TikTok medium to debunk that nonsense,” Fauci said.
Fauci neglects to mention to these influencers that, according to the CDC, approximately 4,100 fully vaccinated individuals have been hospitalized or died with COVID-19 breakthrough infections post-vaccination.
The venue Fauci chose to communicate his message was inappropriate, to say the least. Being interviewed by TikTok teens and influencers is not the best approach, considering influencers often deceive their audiences. Why would the chief medical advisor to the president endorse his message through illegitimate mediums such as influencers?
Fauci believes he can appeal to a younger generation that may not watch the news or read up on the virus themselves. He is strategic in the way he is placing his promos.
These social media influencers have audiences that consist of the exact target population Fauci needs to work on next with the vaccine, pre-teens and young adults. They act as missionaries on behalf of Fauci, spreading his doctrine and enlisting their young followers to join the “Pfizer fam.”
What better way to vaccinate the next tier of adolescents than to roll out a TikTok marketing campaign all while becoming the medical Godfather to Generation Z?
Wouldn't Fauci’s time be better spent getting the variances in order, strategizing global health solutions, and collaborating with health officials around the world?
This is not about health with Fauci; it's about clout: Views, likes, garnering popularity with young people, and ultimately building a fanbase consisting primarily of the Generation Z TikTok crowd.
This is not the first time global health has taken a back seat to celebrity and pop culture when it comes to Fauci. Last summer, stars like Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry embraced him sporting “Fauci Gang” sweatshirts, which went viral on social media.
Other celebrities followed in Bloom and Perry’s footsteps, including Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher who participated in a private Zoom call with Fauci in April of last year.
Fauci saw an opportunity for fame during this global pandemic and he seized the moment, capitalizing on global health for his own personal gain.
It is clear that Fauci's priorities are not in check. He has shifted his work from medicine to entertainment. For him, it’s now about fitting in with the Hollywood set, not getting a hand on the global pandemic. He’s no better than an influencer focused on building his fanbase with Gen Z, a far cry from a public health official.
Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin is an American political commentator and entertainment journalist. She has worked for publications including The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and USA Today. Moriarty-McLaughlin graduated cum laude from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She resides in Los Angeles.