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Although he’s optimistic that Americans will soon have a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, the nation’s premier epidemiologist warns that won’t be an end to what’s become the daily reality of wearing masks and social distancing.
And although Dr Anthony Fauci is not working with President-elect Biden’s transition team, he said that he doesn’t foresee any lockdown of national scope on the horizon.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease for decades, Dr Fauci was for months one of Donald Trump’s most visible advisers on the pandemic until Trump pushed him aside and publicly threatened to fire him.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to rage out of control in the United States, spiking to unprecedented levels. The nation reached nearly 200,000 new cases in a single day on Friday.
“Obviously, with a 90-percent effective vaccine you can feel more confident. But I would recommend to people to not abandon all public health measures just because you’ve been vaccinated,” Dr Fauci said. “Even though for the general population it may be 90 to 95 percent effective, you don’t necessarily know for you how effective it is. So when I get vaccinated, which I hope to when it becomes my turn to get vaccinated, I’m not going to abandon completely public health measures. I can feel more relaxed in essentially not having the stringency of it that we have right now, but I think abandoning it completely would not be a good idea.”
Dr Fauci expressed optimism over the Pfizer vaccine which was recently in the news and is getting close to becoming potentially available.
“I can tell you just from what I’m hearing, they feel they need more resources to be able to implement something that they had not done before, namely, the special requirements. I believe it’s going to be done, Jake,” he said in an on-air interview with CNN host Jake Tapper. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we will be able to get that done. We have, you know, a system, the distribution system, led by Gen. Gus Perna, who is going to be responsible for getting the material there. Obviously, locally. Once they get them there, they have to be able to distribute and that is what we are going to likely need more resources for. As we are hearing they are talking about needing more resources to implement that.”
However, Dr Fauci noted that the vaccine hasn’t been tested yet on children.
“What we do — this is not an unusual situation, is that once you have a vaccine shown to be safe and effective in an adult, you can go back and do Phase One and Phase Two trials in children, and then do what is called bridging it, namely, using the data to show that it’s comparable responses in children but it’s safe,” he said. “And the reason we do that is that children are vulnerable and you always got to make sure that you’re dealing with a safe and effective vaccine before you even think about putting it into children. You want to get the children to get it as quickly as you possible can.
“You don’t want to deprive them of access to it, but you want to make sure you’re safe when you’re dealing with a vulnerable population such as children,” Dr Fauci added. “That is standard what we do with almost all vaccines.”
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