The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine that last week won approval from FDA advisers for a booster shot probably should have been a two-shot vaccine from the start, the nation's top infectious disease physician said Sunday.
"What the advisers to the FDA felt is that, given the data that they saw, very likely this should have been a two-dose vaccine to begin with," Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC's "This Week."
The Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory panel unanimously approved booster shots for the vaccine Friday for all J&J recipients 18 years and older – as early as two months after the first dose.
The panel's recommendations for the Moderna and Pfizer boosters were for Americans 65 and older or in higher risk groups.
Fauci also appeared on Fox News Sunday, saying it is “really unfortunate” that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has moved to ban vaccine mandates in the state. Fauci said the Republican governor’s decision to block businesses from requiring inoculations would damage public health.
Fauci also said people who don't like him don't like hearing the "inconvenient" truth.
"I have stood for always letting science, data and evidence be what we guide ourselves by," Fauci said. "I think people who feel differently, who have conspiracy theories, who deny reality that’s looking them straight in the eye, those are people that don’t particularly care for me."
Also in the news:
►States can begin ordering vaccine doses for children younger than 12 next week, before the FDA authorizes shots for them. Officials are preparing to discuss making smaller-dose versions available to kids ages 5 to 11.
►Enrollment in Milwaukee Public Schools has dropped 9% since the pandemic, with 4,000 fewer students counted this month than at the same time last year, and about 6,300 fewer than before the pandemic began.
►Robert Durst, the 78-year-old who days ago was sentenced to life in prison for a decades-old murder, has been hospitalized with COVID. His attorney said Saturday that Durst was "very, very sick."
►Rolls-Royce is rolling out a timeline for mandatory vaccinations for its employees, following a requirement that those working with the federal government be vaccinated. The company, a longtime federal contractor, won a $500 million contract to make engines for the Air Force last month.
📈 Today's numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 44.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 724,100 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 240.3 million cases and 4.8 million deaths. More than 188.9 million Americans — 56.9% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we're reading: National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins, who is retiring after 12 years serving three presidents in his role, spoke with USA TODAY about his tenure. Read what he said about vaccines and misinformation.
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ESPN reporter Allison Williams will quit rather than get vaccinated
Veteran reporter Allison Williams said she will leave ESPN rather than comply with the sports network's mandate that all employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. Williams announced last month that for the first time in 15 years, she would not be on the sidelines during ESPN's college football broadcasts because she had declined the vaccine. In a five-minute video on Instagram to explain her decision, saying she is "so morally and ethically not aligned with this (mandate)."
Williams, who said earlier that she and her husband are trying to conceive a second child, cited anecdotal evidence of women having health issues after getting the vaccine. However, the Centers for Disease Control has said there is currently no evidence the COVID vaccines cause fertility problems in women and men, and that "the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks."
Support for extra COVID doses has people asking: Can I get a booster?
A federal advisory committee supports booster shots of all three COVID-19 vaccines being used in the U.S. for Americans who need them. So far, the Food and Drug Administration only has authorized booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for certain people who may be at high risk for COVID-19 infection or severe disease. But the other two vaccines have won the ok of a panel of experts and should clear the regulatory process soon. Booster shots for those vaccines likely to be available soon. Read more about who can get a booster.
-Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY
Austin-area hospitalizations stubbornly slow to decline
Despite this week's shift to loosened coronavirus guidelines in Travis County, Texas, which contains Austin, local hospital numbers on Friday were slow to meet hopeful expectations for an end to masking and social distancing this fall. Austin and Travis County on Friday recorded 23 new hospital admissions for COVID-19. The rolling seven-day average of new daily hospital admissions, which helps Austin Public Health determine guidelines for the most medically vulnerable members of the community, went up to 20 after two days at 19.
On Tuesday, Austin Public Health shifted to Stage 3 of the agency's risk-based guidelines because the rolling seven-day average stayed below 30 for several days in a row. Under Stage 3 guidelines, health leaders say it is now safe enough for anyone fully vaccinated to shop and dine indoors and gather outdoors without wearing a mask if social distancing is used.
-Heather Osbourne, The Austin-American Statesman
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: J&J 1-shot vaccine should have been 2, Fauci says: Live COVID news