Dr. Anthony Fauci Wouldn’t Hesitate to Get the J&J Vaccine

Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a White House press briefing, at the White House on January 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, encouraged Americans not to hesitate to receive the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine that the FDA authorized for use on Saturday. Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine prevented severe illness and hospitalization in trials, but its overall efficacy was 72 percent in the United States, whereas the clinical trials for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines showed higher efficacy rates. This raises concerns of vaccine hesitancy for the newest vaccine, which will be rolled out over the coming months with initial shipments expected as early as next week.

“The message that needs to prevail, Dana, is that these are three highly efficacious vaccines,” Fauci told CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union Sunday. Fauci said that if he weren’t already vaccinated, “and I had a choice of getting a J&J vaccine now or waiting for another vaccine, I would take whatever vaccine would be available to me as quickly as possible.”

Fauci took the same message to other Sunday shows, urging Americans to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and speed up vaccination rates overall, rather than trying to hold out for a different vaccine. He further emphasized that it’s hard to compare efficacy rates across different studies, because they were conducted under different circumstances.

He cautioned that states beginning to ease lockdown restrictions are doing so prematurely, and he fears that infection rates will begin to tick up yet again. Premature reopening, he said, was “really risky” and would put us “right back on the road to rebounding.”

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