A former CDC acting director has agreed with the approach presented by Dr. Anthony Fauci to the two-dose Covid-19 vaccine.
According to Richard Besser, who served as acting director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under former President Barack Obama, the approach of Dr. Fauci to the two-dose Covid-19 vaccine is the right one.
Besser agreed that it would be more beneficial for the US to continue focusing on getting people two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine despite challenges to distribution in the country.
Talking on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith,” Besser said: “I’d go with Dr. Fauci on this one. I have concerns that if we go to a one-dose regimen, we could be providing people with suboptimal levels of protection.”
Currently, only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on their effectiveness after two doses, administered at separate times.
The challenges to the rollout of the vaccines as well as the emergence of new Covid-19 variants in the country have prompted some scientists to recommend the distribution of single vaccines to more people rather than double doses to fewer patients.
Additionally, Besser, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also said it’s still early for states to start opening bars and restaurants to bigger groups of people.
He argued that social indoor gatherings could lead to wider outbreaks “if we let our guard down.”
Dr. Fauci’s comments
Dr. Fauci said delaying second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine is not necessary to get more people first doses. He mentioned that it looks like there will be a much steadier supply coming in through February and into March.
He said: “Certainly you don’t want vaccines sitting around in the refrigerator or in a freezer if they’re ready to go. You want to give them to people.” He believes there is a way to increase vaccine distribution without the need to delay a second dose.
“If you miss it by a few days to a week or two, I don’t think that’s a big problem, as the CDC says, but I’d be concerned about delaying it for three months or so,” he added. “You got to be careful because you’re dealing with different vaccine platforms.”
Fauci mentioned data showing that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines “are solid” about getting a second shot 28 days and 21 days later, respectively.
He also called for faster vaccinations to stop the emergence of new Covid-19 variants.
On Monday, Dr. Fauci emphasized the need for Covid-19 vaccinations to be conducted as quickly as possible in the US in order to halt new variants from emerging. His statement follows reports of multiple new coronavirus strains spreading across the country.
“You need to get vaccinated when it becomes available as quickly and as expeditiously as possible throughout the country,” Dr. Fauci said.
He explained: “And the reason for that is… viruses cannot mutate if they don’t replicate. And if you stop their replication by vaccinating widely and not giving the virus an open playing field to continue to respond to the pressures that you put on it, you will not get mutations.”
Dr. Fauci added that even if a person has had coronavirus, there’s a “very high rate” of being re-infected with the new variants if they become dominant.
“If it becomes dominant, the experience of our colleagues in South Africa indicate that even if you’ve been infected with the original virus that there is a very high rate of reinfection to the point where previous infection does not seem to protect you against reinfection,” Fauci continued.