Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that he was horrified to hear the crowd at a conservative gathering this weekend cheering anti-vaccination comments.
"It's horrifying. I mean, they are cheering about someone saying that it's a good thing for people not to try and save their lives," Fauci told host Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union," referring to the audience's reaction to remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas.
Fauci also said that it was "almost frightening" for people to say that they don't want health officials to save their lives.
"I mean, if you just unpack that for a second, Jake, it's almost frightening to say, 'Hey, guess what, we don't want you to do something to save your life,'" Fauci said.
"Yay. Everybody starts screaming and clapping. I just don't get that," he added. "I don't think that anybody who is thinking clearly can get that. What is that all about? I don't understand that, Jake."
Fauci was responding to a clip of conservative author Alex Berenson, who spoke at CPAC on Saturday.
"The government was hoping that they could sort of sucker 90 percent of the population into getting vaccinated," Berenson told the crowd.
"And it isn't happening," he added to applause.
Tapper also asked Fauci about former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wanting schools and businesses to mandate COVID-19 vaccines.
Fauci said that he's in favor of that idea, adding that he anticipates more demand for the vaccines once they are formally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"So these vaccines are as good as officially approved with all the i's dotted and the t's crossed. It hasn't been done yet because the FDA has to do certain things, but it's as good as done," Fauci said. "So people should really understand that. But they are waiting now until you get an official approval before. And I think when you do see the official approval, Jake, you are going to see a lot more mandates."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in guidance on Friday encouraged schools nationwide to open for in-person learning this fall.