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The more I watch Dr. Anthony Fauci, the more I appreciate what a diplomatic, thoughtful person he is. We just talked about his interview on CNN where he called it “horrifying” that the CPAC attendees cheered for the US missing vaccination targets. Fauci is warning people about the risk of death from covid, particularly as the more contagious delta variant has become the dominant strain in the US. Unfortunately daily cases in the US are rising more than 66%, even as almost half of the US population is fully vaccinated. As Kaiser wrote about yesterday, the Republicans are killing off their base by spreading misinformation about the vaccinations.
Dr. Fauci spoke with Gayle King on CBS This Morning. He talked about the need to educate people about the vaccines so we can reach the holdouts. He also explained why the CDC and FDA said a booster was not needed at this time, although he gave a lot of credit to Pfizer as well. He just makes me feel more hopeful about where the US is headed, even with the MAGAs kicking and screaming. He’s the perfect complement to the very competent Biden administration. Gayle said that she’s having an issue in her own family with people who refuse to get vaccinated. Here’s more of what they said and you can watch the interview below:
On the need for vaccines
Dr. Fauci: The concern is, first of all, the virus itself can transmit much more readily from person to person. We know that from experience in our country as well as in several other countries so you’re dealing with a real bad actor virus.
The issue is, given the number of people in the country who are not vaccinated, that really is the concern because the vaccines that we have available… do very well against the Delta variant, particularly protecting against severe disease leading to hospitalization.
We’re concerned about those regions of the country, those states, those areas, those cities in which the level of vaccination is really quite low, hovering around 30 percent or so. You’ve got to do much better than that.
On convincing vaccine hesitant people to get vaccinated
Dr. Fauci: When we started with the vaccine implementation plan there were large efforts like auditoriums or arenas filled with people getting vaccinated. When you get down to now a core lesser group, you’ve got to go one on one. That’s what the president was talking about… community people to go out there and try and convince people… to go out and get vaccinated. We really need to get more people vaccinated.
Gayle King: I don’t know how many times you can say to people ‘listen, it will save your life.’ I have this problem with some members of my own family which I’m now going to ban from Thanksgiving vacation. That’s how strongly I’m taking what you’re saying.
On the confusion between Pfizer, the FDA and CDC over the booster shot
Dr. Fauci: When you have a regulatory agency like FDA or a public health agency like the CDC, whenever they make solid, official recommendations, they will do that based on solid data, data and evidence that they’ve gotten from clinical studies, which they are very actively accumulating right now… What Pfizer did, understandably, they looked at what their data said [and recommended a booster shot]. That’s fine except they’re not the official recommending organization. Although they do good work, they have data that we will go over with them to determine if there’s anything that we need to use.
If anyone can make me feel better about the FDA and CDC going against Pfizer’s recommendations, it’s Dr. Fauci. He’s giving credit to Pfizer and is saying the regulatory agencies will let us know about the booster in due time. Hopefully that will be in the next couple of months.
Meanwhile I wonder who Gayle is talking about! Gayle has a daughter Kirby, 34, and son William Bumpus Jr., 33. Gayle’s daughter is pregnant and married and I’m not sure about her son’s relationship status. They’re probably all vaccinated though because Gayle has been posting photos hanging out with them, so she’s likely talking about extended family. However I have cousins around that age who think they don’t need to get vaccinated. Their parents are Democrats too, thankfully most of my family are. They’re on their own now and I hope they make the right decision sooner rather than later. Banning unvaccinated people from coming over your house and/or from family gatherings is the best approach I think. I’ve also heard of it working to convince people to get the shots.
Here’s that interview: