Fauci calls ‘insanity’ of threats he gets for promoting Covid-19 vaccines – Community News
Covid-19

Fauci calls ‘insanity’ of threats he gets for promoting Covid-19 vaccines

ANNthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert who has himself become a kind of Rorschach test for people’s opinions about the pandemic, warned that the politicization of the Covid-19 response could affect the country’s ability to cope with future health emergencies. to offer, even at a time of great scientific progress.

“How do you change a mindset in a country that completely contradicts a response to an outbreak?” Fauci said in a pre-recorded interview that aired on the STAT summit on Tuesday. “If ever there was a phenomenon that required people to work together in a society, it’s an outbreak that kills hundreds of thousands of people. I don’t know how we can get that division behind us.”

Fauci noted that there are scientific preparations for a pandemic, as well as for public health. The country’s years of work improving vaccine platforms have allowed scientists to develop Covid-19 shot in record time — a demonstration of the value of that scientific readiness.

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However, the pandemic exposed the country’s cracks in public health: issues such as the limited resources for contact tracing and isolation, and issues such as the scarcity of diagnostic tests or problems with laboratory capacity. Public health officials have been relentlessly undermined by politicians and attacked by people trying to serve them, and countless public health or health professionals have left their fields.

Still, Fauci said, the country can invest in improving its public health infrastructure.

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But Fauci warned that the “much vaguer” factor that could undermine the country’s response to the next pandemic is some people’s staunch opposition to measures designed to protect their communities. Fauci said he has received threats for urging people to wear masks indoors and get vaccinated — the results of a divide that has been cited as the “new normal.”

“It’s the normalization of madness, I guess,” he told STAT’s Helen Branswell in the video interview, which was recorded Friday.

Fauci noted the link between partisan divisions and vaccination rates as evidence of how politics is shaping the US epidemic, with more conservative areas seeing drastically lower vaccination rates. Fauci says he tries to stay out of politics — he has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under presidents of both parties — and that “the most important thing is the common enemy, which is the virus. And it just doesn’t make sense to essentially fight each other when we should be fighting the common enemy.”

Fauci also spoke about what awaits the country in its second pandemic winter as Thanksgiving and other holidays approach. The number of cases in the US, which had fallen earlier this fall, has stuck at about 70,000 to 75,000 daily infections – and is starting to rise again.

But Fauci said “it’s within our power to influence that tremendously.” If the country can reach more unprotected people with vaccines, get boosters for people whose waning immunity has left them susceptible to infection again, and follow some precautions, such as masking in indoor public areas, “we can get through the winter reasonably well. If we can do that.” If you don’t, I think we’ll be in trouble.”

Branswell noted that the country has had about 85,000 deaths from Covid-19 in the past two months, even with a vaccine glut. If that death rate wasn’t enough to affect the tens of millions of people who remain unvaccinated, what would be?

“It’s painful and frustrating for me as a public health person, as a doctor who takes care of people and sees firsthand what sickness and death are, repeatedly,” Fauci replied. “Like you said, it just doesn’t make sense, it’s almost inexplicable. But it’s what we’re dealing with.”

But Fauci said some of the remaining people aren’t hardcore holdouts. Some still get vaccinated if they get the right information from people they trust.

Furthermore, Fauci said he supported adult vaccine mandates because people who remain unimmunized not only endanger their own health, but also pose a risk to others as potential carriers of the virus. Biden’s government vaccine mandate for major employers is involved in lawsuits.

Fauci said it’s a different situation for schoolchildren mandates to get Covid-19 vaccines, at least now. He said authorities could wait for more safety data and noted that pediatric injections are currently under emergency approval, while the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is for people 16 and older. full Food and Drug Administration approval. But he said he might see mandates in the future, noting that schoolchildren should already be getting vaccines for pathogens less dangerous than the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus now.

Because data suggesting vaccine-induced immunity begins to decline about six months after the injections, there are questions about whether regular booster doses will be needed in the future — that there may be something with the mRNA vaccines most immunized. Americans have gotten or the immune response we’ve gotten. generate against the coronavirus that requires a regular shock.

But Fauci said there was a “reasonable possibility” that a booster dose will provide a “durability of protection well beyond” what has been seen after the first round of shots — though he stressed that scientists will need to keep looking to see if That is the case indeed. He said an additional dose after six months will mature the immune system’s memory to the point that the resulting protection could last longer, and argued that third doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines should be considered an extension of the primary series.

“A booster is not a luxury, a booster is not an add-on and a booster is part of what the original regimen should be,” he said.

Boosters are currently approved for seniors, adults at high risk of contracting Covid-19 or developing serious illness, and anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine as a primary injection. But some states, in an effort to dampen any winter spikes, have urged everyone to get boosters — even as many scientists continue to argue that boosters aren’t necessary for many younger adults right now.

The interview ended on a bright spot, when Fauci said his daughters are coming home for Christmas this year.