The leading expert on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, responds to allegations made by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on July 20, 2021.
J. Scott Applewhite | Swimming pool | Reuters
Dr. Anthony Fauci defended the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to decline the offer of a third booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for the general US population.
“I don’t think you made a mistake,” the White House chief medical officer told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.
Fauci added that he would support a third dose if future data shows it is effective. As the FDA continues to gather new information about boosters, persuading unvaccinated Americans to get vaccinated remains a priority.
Fauci’s comments come after the FDA Advisory Committee on Friday voted against giving all Americans a third shot of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine, despite recommending booster doses for those 65 and over and those with underlying medical conditions.
The FDA panel’s decision added to the confusion over booster shots after President Joe Biden said last month that boosters would be available to all Americans starting the week of September 20th.
“I understand why there might be confusion because I think people have not understood the difference between planning something and actually not understanding what element of it, what portion of it is actually being introduced, and that’s exactly what happened,” he said “Meet the Press” from NBC.
He later told ABC’s This Week that the government had set the September 20th deadline as a wildcard, subject to input from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The plan was that we have to be ready to do this as soon as a decision is made,” he said. “And when you have a plan, put a date on it and say,” We want to be able to prepare for the launch by the week of September 20th. “
Recent data from Israel suggests that while the vaccine’s effectiveness declines over time, a third injection of Pfizer six months after a second dose could restore infection protection to 95%.
As of September 18, more than 181 million Americans were fully vaccinated. Nationwide, more than 670,000 people have died of Covid-19.
Data on boosters from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson is expected in the coming weeks, Fauci said. He also said “This Week” that there will “certainly” be a vaccine for children this fall.