WASHINGTON – Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that this weekend’s emergency approval of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine gives the nation three “highly effective vaccines” on the market that provide significant protection against Covid-19, and urged Americans to take whatever is available to them when eligible.
In an interview with “Meet the Press,” Fauci said he would take any of the three approved vaccines, from Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson, because they all provide strong protection against serious coronavirus-related illnesses. As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci got vaccinated late last year amid an initial push to inspire confidence in the launch of the vaccine.
“All three are really pretty good, and people should take the one that is most available to them,” he said.
“If you go to a place and you have J&J, and that’s the one that’s available now, I would take it. I would personally do the same. I think people should get vaccinated as quickly and quickly as possible.”
The Food and Drug Administration approved the Johnson & Johnson emergency vaccine on Saturday, a day after its advisory panel recommended that approval. The company expects to have 20 million doses available by March.
The new vaccine differs from the other two previously approved because it is a single injection and does not require a second dose to be administered weeks later. Documents released by the FDA found the injection to be 86 percent effective in preventing serious illness overall: 72 percent effective in the U.S. and 64 percent in South Africa, where a new strain has become prominent. of the illness.
While those efficacy rates are lower than those of Moderna and Pfizer injections, Fauci told “Meet the Press” that Americans should not attempt to compare the efficacy figures of injections side-by-side because each injection was tested on a different trial amid different circumstances. For example, public health officials have been more concerned in recent weeks about the rise in variants that could possibly evade vaccines.
“It’s not the weakest vaccine, it’s the three really good vaccines,” Fauci said of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
There have been more than 28.6 million coronavirus infections in the United States and more than 514,000 deaths attributed to the virus, according to an analysis by NBC News. The number of new daily cases has plummeted in recent weeks: the seven-day average of new daily cases stands at around 70,000, the lowest since October. And the country’s vaccination rate has also improved, with more than 68 million doses administered, according to NBC News.
Still, deaths are declining more slowly than new cases. And Fauci warned government officials that the decline in cases should not lead to a relaxation of restrictions for now because there is still too much virus circulating in the country and he is concerned that rolling back could lead to another increase.
“We have been in this situation before,” he said. “When you start to see a decrease in the number of cases, if you lift the restrictions prematurely, we have some examples of the rebound. Our baseline of daily infections now, although well below where it was 300,000, more, per day, is has dropped to around 70,000, that baseline is too high. “
“Let’s keep our feet on the gas right now because we are going in the right direction.”