Dr. Anthony Fauci, US President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, is calling 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.
Get vaccinated as quickly as possible
“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.
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta also reiterated the possibility of reinfection by one of the variants. Dr. Gupta said: “A lot of people say, ‘Look, I had it, I’m good to go, I don’t need to get vaccinated. Not the case. You still need to vaccinated and this is precisely why.”
“Even though there is a diminished protection against the variants, there’s enough protection to prevent you from getting serious disease, including hospitalization and deaths,” Dr. Fauci said. “So, vaccination is critical.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Megan Ranney, director of the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health in Rhode Island, explained: “Right now we are in an absolute race against time with these variants, with trying to get people vaccinated before they spread too much across our country.”
“It means that just going to the grocery store, to school or to work could become more dangerous. We have an already overtaxed and exhausted health care system,” Dr. Ranney added.
No need to delay second dose
A few days ago, Dr. Fauci also said delaying second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine is not necessary to get more people first doses. He does not recommend delaying second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine since 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.