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As COVID continues to spread throughout the United States, it can feel like there's little respite from the onslaught of bad news about the virus. However, in a new interview, Anthony Fauci, MD, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, says that there's reason to be hopeful about the course of the pandemic. Read on to discover what Fauci had to say about what's in store for the U.S. in the coming months, and for more insight from the medical expert, find out why Dr. Fauci Said Hearing These 5 Words About COVID Made Him Cry.
In a Jan. 29 press briefing with Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fauci announced that two new vaccine trials are showing promising results. "One is the soluble protein platform in a study that came out of the U.K., from the company Novavax, and the other one…was the Janssen, or Johnson&Johnson adeno-26 trial that took place in the United States, in South Africa, and in Brazil. And the results really are very encouraging," Fauci said.
That wasn't all he had to say about the pandemic's trajectory, however; read on to see what Fauci says we can expect from the new vaccines. And before you get your shot, know that If You Take These OTC Meds, You Have to Stop Before Getting the Vaccine.
Fauci isn't worried about the Johnson&Johnson vaccine's lower efficacy.
Johnson&Johnson's vaccine comes in a single shot, as opposed to the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines currently available in the U.S. That means its full dosage can be administered faster than those of its competitors, which require a few weeks between shots. While the Johnson&Johnson vaccine's efficacy thus far pales in comparison to the vaccines already approved for use in the States, Fauci urges that it's still highly effective.
In the Johnson&Johnson trials, "the overall vaccine efficacy in the study was 66 percent, but for the United States, it was 72 percent," Fauci explained. Meanwhile, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have between 95 and 95 percent efficacy against symptomatic COVID. "The first thing people do is compare a 72 percent efficacy with the previously reported and other trials of 94 to 95 percent, that is true," Fauci said. But it's only part of the picture. And for more vaccine news, check out If You're Over 65, You Shouldn't Get This New Vaccine, Experts Warn.
He says the Johnson&Johnson vaccine is still highly effective against more severe disease.
Despite the comparatively low efficacy rate when stacked against the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, Fauci noted that the Johnson&Johnson vaccine's stats against severe COVID are nothing to sneeze at.
"When one looks at the potential impact on a very important aspect…namely severe disease, that overall in the United States, in South Africa, and in Brazil, the overall efficacy for severe disease was 85 percent," Fauci pointed out. And if you want to ensure that your immunization is effective, these are The 2 Things You Need to Do Before Getting Vaccinated, Study Says.
Fauci says that pediatric vaccines could be available by spring or summer.
While Fauci has touted the importance of resuming in-person instruction for children in previous interviews, he admitted that it will be quite some time before a pediatric COVID vaccine is approved.
"Hopefully by the time we get to the late spring and early summer, we will have children being able to be vaccinated according to the FDA's guidance," said Fauci, explaining that clinical trials for pediatric COVID vaccines would begin "over the next couple of months." And for the latest COVID news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
And he says vaccines are our best chance at stopping COVID from mutating.
While COVID will continue to mutate, Fauci said, it has less of an opportunity to do so when infections are much lower, and that's where vaccines come in. "The fundamental principle of getting people vaccinated as quickly and as efficiently as you possibly can, will always be the best way to prevent the further evolution of any mutant," he said. "Because when you do that, you prevent replication and replication is essential for mutation." And for more on where the mutations are cropping up at the moment, check out How Many Cases of the New COVID Strains Are in Your State.