Two of America’s leading coronavirus experts said Sunday that they personally would not care about receiving any of the vaccines that are under final review, but expressed concern about continued skepticism from the American public.
“These vaccines are highly effective,” Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific advisor for Operation Warp Speed, the US government’s effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine, told ABC’s “This Week.” “I feel very comfortable taking the vaccine.”
Vaccines developed separately by the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna drug manufacturing teams have been shown to be 95% effective in testing and are now awaiting approval from the US government. For general use, now Tens of thousands of new infections are reported each day in the United States.
But national polls in the US have shown that roughly four in 10 Americans still don’t know whether to get vaccinated.
The government review is likely to be completed in the coming weeks and millions of doses of the vaccines could be available before the end of the year, initially for healthcare workers and the most vulnerable elderly in nursing homes.
“I am very concerned about that skepticism,” Slaoui said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease expert, told CBS News’s “Face the Nation” that he is also not afraid of being vaccinated.
“If I’m in the recommended group, I definitely would,” he said. “I would not hesitate to take it. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to my family either. “
He said that assuming the Food and Drug Administration approves the vaccines after their review, “when the American public hears that, they should be sure” that they are safe.
He said: “Twenty million could be vaccinated in mid to late December and in January and February even more. We need to vaccinate as many people as possible. “
He said there would be “blanket protection” for the country if large numbers are vaccinated, but not if only 45% or 50% are.
He said that with the nearly 200,000 new infections every day in the US, “We are in a very, very difficult situation.”
He stressed the need to continue with “mitigation measures” such as physically distancing two meters or more from other people and wearing face masks.
“If you don’t follow these recommendations, you could have an exponential increase” in the number of cases, he said.
“We can do something” about the increase in the number of cases, he said. “Help is on the way. Vaccines are on the way if we can hold out. We can get out of this.”
“There is a very sober message on the one hand, but there is a hopeful message if we do certain things,” Fauci concluded. “It is in our power to do them.”