White House coronavirus testing czar, Admiral Brett Giroir said all Americans who want to be vaccinated against COVID-19 could get inoculated by June as he noted that both the vaccines currently being distributed in the US will be effective against the new strain of the virus that has reportedly emerged in the UK.
“We’re clearly on schedule, 20 million vaccinations distributed by the first week in January, we expect another 30 million in January, another 50 million in February,” Giroir told Fox News.
“And with the current contracts, even with just the vaccines we have right now, we still expect that any American who wants a vaccine can be vaccinated by June. That’s really very exciting. That means a couple hundred million people being able to be vaccinated by that time,” he added.
Vaccine to be effective on new virus strain
Meanwhile, to allay fears over the widely reported new strain of the coronavirus in the UK that is said to be 70% more contagious, Giroir said there’s been “no evidence” that the current Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, approved by the FDA for emergency use authorization (EUA) will not be effective against the new variant.
He also said that the vaccines will work against all strains.
“We have no evidence that suggests, nor do we believe, that … the vaccine would not be effective. In other words, we do believe the vaccine will be effective against this variant,” he said.
The Assistant Secretary for Health also noted that although not yet detected, it is possible that the new strain of the virus has already reached the US soils.
“We don’t have evidence that it’s here, although we do suspect that it’s here given the global interconnectedness,” Giroir told ABC News separately.
More contagious but not more serious
“There is increasing evidence that it really is more transmissible, meaning it’s more contagious … [but] we have no evidence that it is more serious, no evidence that if you get it, there’ll be more likelihood of getting into the hospital or dying and we still believe — don’t have absolute proof — but we have very good evidence to believe that the vaccine will still be effective,” he added.
Meanwhile, Giroir maintained that at the current pace, every American who wants to get vaccinated is sure to get it by June.
“With the current contracts, even with just the vaccines we have right now, we still expect that any American who wants a vaccine can be vaccinated by June. That’s really very exciting. That means a couple hundred million people being able to be vaccinated by that time,” the Assistant Secretary for Health said.
He also noted that in terms of vaccine distribution, it would be “up to the states” to determine the manner of administering the shots and who gets it after health workers and nursing home residents — although the White House has earlier recommended inoculating people over the age of 75 and other front-line workers next.
Giroir added that the country will achieve “herd immunity” when about “70% to 80%” of the American public has either been vaccinated or previously infected.
Fauci: post-holiday surge expected
Separately, Dr. Anthony Fauci said over the weekend that expects the pandemic to record another “surge” post-holiday season as more and more people travel.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says he believes the worst is still yet to come in the coronavirus pandemic following the holiday season.
— CNN (@CNN) December 27, 2020
“We very well might see a post-seasonal — in the sense of Christmas, New Years — surge or as I’ve described it, a surge upon a surge,” Fauci said in a CNN interview, adding that he believes the worst is yet to come.
“If you look at the slope, the incline of cases we’ve experienced as we’ve got into the late fall and soon-to-be early winter, it really is quite troubling,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and also a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force added.
Source: The Scoop