WASHINGTON – Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that this weekend’s acute approval of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine now gives the nation three “highly effective vaccines” on the market that provide significant protection against Covid-19, urging Americans to take what is available to them , when they become qualified.
In an interview with “Meet the Press”, Fauci said he would take one of the three approved vaccines – from Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson ̵
“All three of them are really pretty good and people need to take the one that is most accessible to them,” he said.
“If you go to a place and you have J&J and it’s the one available now, I would take it. I personally would do the same. I think people need to be vaccinated so quickly and as quickly as possible.”
The Food and Drug Administration approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in an emergency on Saturday, a day after its advisory panel recommended 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 shot and does not require a different dose to be administered weeks later. Documents released by the FDA showed that the shot was 86 percent effective in preventing serious illness in general – 72 percent effective in the United States and 64 percent in South Africa, which has seen a new strain of disease become prominent.
While these efficiency rates are lower than for the Moderna and Pfizer shots, Fauci told “Meet the Press” that the Americans should not try to compare the shot’s efficiency numbers side by side because each shot was examined in a different attempt under different circumstances. For example, in recent weeks, public health officials have been more concerned about the rise in variants that may avoid vaccines.
“It’s not the weaker vaccine, they are all three really good vaccines,” Fauci said of the Johnson & Johnson shot.
There have been more than 28.6 million coronavirus infections in America and more than 514,000 deaths attributed to the virus, according to an NBC News analysis. The number of new daily cases has fallen in recent weeks – the seven-day average of new daily cases is 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.
Yet deaths fall more slowly than new cases. And Fauci warned government officials that the drop in cases should not yet lead to a easing of restrictions because there is still too much virus in circulation in the country and he is worried that backing up could lead to another increase.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” he said. “When you start to see a drop in the number of cases if you lift the restrictions prematurely, we have a few examples of rebound left. Our baseline for daily infections now, even though it’s far down from where it was 300,000, plus, per day, is down to around 70,000, this baseline is too high. ”
“Let’s keep our feet on the accelerator right now because we’re going in the right direction.”