(CNN) — Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease expert, urged Americans Sunday to take any of the three “highly effective” coronavirus vaccines now available to them and not delay in receiving a vaccine. to wait for any other.
His comments come after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared Johnson & Johnson’s covid-19 vaccine, adding a third vaccine option for Americans.
These are three highly effective vaccines. I can tell you that I have been fully vaccinated with one that was available. It was the Modern, “he told CNN’s Dana Bash on” State of the Union. ” “If I were not vaccinated now and had the option to receive a J&J vaccine now or wait for another vaccine, I would take whatever vaccine was available to me as quickly as possible for the simple reason of what I said just now: we want to vaccinate the elderly. number of people in the fastest and most expeditious way possible.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine available in the United States and is considered to be 72% effective specifically for the United States and offers 86% protection against severe forms of the disease in the country. The vaccine was tested in more than 44,000 people in the United States, South Africa and Latin America. Globally, it was 66.1% effective against moderate to severe or critical COVID-19 at least four weeks after vaccination, according to an FDA analysis.
But while Fauci and health experts have touted the vaccine’s effectiveness against the virus, there is some concern among Americans about its effectiveness compared to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that have 95% protection.
“I can understand that kind of concern, but to really compare vaccines, you have to compare them head-to-head and they weren’t compared head-to-head,” Fauci told Bash.
And while the initial supply of Johnson & Johnson vaccine is limited – the company says it only has about 4 million doses of its vaccine ready to ship “immediately” – it should have 20 million ready by the end of March.
Vaccines and variants of covid in the US
The J&J vaccine comes as new variants of Covid-19 circulate in the United States, one of them in New York City, which worries researchers.
The researchers had told the VRBPAC committee that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was tested at a different time: when more viruses were circulating and after new variants had emerged that have the ability to evade part of the immune response. Although they could not prove that these variants were responsible for the apparent lower efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they told the committee that it could have been a factor.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to protect against some variants, but companies are also racing to get ahead of virus variants by testing new booster vaccines and specific variants.
Viruses mutate all the time. The more people are infected and the longer they are infected, the more likely it is that viruses will change. But sometimes a mutation or pattern of mutations takes hold and is passed on. If viruses with such patterns become more common, they are called variants.
Fauci said Sunday that variants should be taken seriously and that the best way to address variants is not only to continue with public health measures, but also to vaccinate as many people as possible “because even when there are variants, vaccines they will be important in preventing the spread. ‘
‘You get variants when the virus has a kind of full field of going where it wants to go because people are vulnerable. If you prevent it through public health measures and vaccination, you will cushion the effect of these variants, “he said.
Some states, including New York and Virginia, have begun easing some covid-19 restrictions as vaccines increase. But health experts, including CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, warned it could be too soon.
There is concern about a recent stagnation in the decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the United States, which now appears to be “stabilizing,” Walensky warned during a briefing at the White House on Friday.
“In recent weeks, cases and hospital admissions in the United States have been declining since the beginning of January and deaths had decreased in the last week,” Walensky said. “But the latest data suggests that these declines may be stagnant, possibly stabilizing at a still very high number. We at CDC consider this to be a very disturbing change in trajectory. “
Fauci agreed, saying Sunday that the move to relax restrictions is “risky” as new variants continue to spread.
“If you look at that small plateau, particularly in the area of having variants like the ones we have in California and the ones we have in New York, it’s very risky to say ‘it’s over, we’re dating, let’s go backwards’ because what we can see is that we appeared “, He said. “It’s not hypothetical, Dana, because you just look historically at the late winter, early spring of 2020 … the summer of 2020, when we started to roll back prematurely, we saw the rebound.”
– CNN’s Jen Christensen, Christina Maxouris and Maggie Fox contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism