A COVID-19 expert shares his simple sports analogy to explain why vaccines work against variants

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  • There’s concern coronavirus variants can partially evade vaccines made to target the original virus.
  • But research suggests the parts of our immune system activated by vaccines can still fight variants.
  • Experts say to think of vaccines like an elite athlete: They can dominate even when off their A game.
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For a while, Dr. Jeremy Faust struggled to put into words why he was not worried about COVID-19 variants rendering vaccines obsolete.

Faust, an emergency-medicine physician and instructor at Harvard Medical School, was loath to use data to explain his reasoning to nonscientists. Instead, he had a hunch that sports analogies might help people understand him a little better.

Recently, he came up with one comparison that seemed to resonate: Think of our COVID-19 vaccines as world-class athletes.

Even if Serena Williams or Tom Brady is not performing at their absolute best, even if they face a change in the game, and even if they face a strong opponent, they are still extraordinarily hard to beat.

Pfizer’s, Moderna’s, and Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 shots, which were all 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths in clinical trials of tens of thousands of people around the world, are kind of like the Williams or the Brady of vaccines.

Yes, viral variants are on the rise – some of which can evade virus-neutralizing antibodies. But make no mistake: These vaccines, like elite athletes, can still perform very well against them.

“If Serena Williams all of a sudden was 10% less effective than usual, or 50% less effective than usual, she would still kick everyone’s ass,” Faust, who is also the editor of Brief19, a daily review of COVID-19 research, recently told Insider on Clubhouse.

“So far, the variants have not rendered any of the vaccines useless,” Faust said, adding that like Williams or Brady, “they’re still quite impressive,” even when slightly less effective.

Fauci agrees: Vaccines are tough to beat, even for variants

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COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies prepare for the possibility of a future coronavirus invasion by teaching them how to fend off an attack from the original “wild-type” coronavirus.

Concerns that these shots could then be less effective against variants come from lab studies involving blood samples from vaccinated people, which showed that vaccinated people produced far fewer antibodies that could neutralize variants compared with the antibodies produced to combat the wild-type virus.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, who spoke with Insider last week, stressed that drop wasn’t enough to render vaccines ineffective.

These authorized vaccines are also 66 to 95% effective at preventing sickness – far surpassing the US Food and Drug Administration’s 50% efficacy bar for COVID-19 vaccines, making consumers “spoiled,” some vaccine makers have suggested.

“Most people have high enough levels of antibody that even if you diminish it by several fold, we still have enough cushion effect to be able to block any issue of severe disease,” Fauci told Insider.

Like elite athletes, it would take a lot to overcome our highly effective COVID-19 vaccines

Rob Gronkowski Tom Brady

Scientists still don’t know precisely the amount of antibodies needed to keep us safe from a severe COVID-19 infection (just like we don’t know at what point a fatigued Brady or an injured Williams would cease to be some of the greatest athletes of all time).

But, like elite athletes, existing COVID-19 vaccines prompt such a high level of response to start with that even a little kick in the knees from some variants won’t completely stymie their efficacy, according to Alessandro Sette, an infectious-disease expert at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California.

“If you need a 10-foot wall to keep the virus out, and you start with a wall 100 feet high, even if the wall is reduced to 50 feet or 20 feet, it doesn’t really matter,” he told Insider.

Fauci has also said antibodies that are effective at combating the original virus can still partially work against variants – this is known as “the spillover effect.”

“It’s like you have a bug spray that is supposed to kill mosquitoes but might kill flies too, though maybe not as well,” Sette said.

Besides, that stark drop observed in neutralizing antibodies doesn’t happen against every variant. The variant first found in the UK, which is the one that is dominant in the US now, is “handled extremely well by the vaccines that are currently in use,” Fauci said.

Our T cells respond equally well to variants as they do to the original virus

Serena Williams

Concerns over plummeting antibody levels also don’t take into account other parts of our immune response to the virus – namely killer T cells that identify and kill infected cells, as well as helper T cells that help B cells make new antibodies.

While antibodies stop infection, your body’s T cell response – which lasts at least six to eight months – can influence how severe that infection will be.

And there’s good news on the T-cell front: Two new studies found people who’ve recovered from the wild-type version of the coronavirus had T cells that could recognize worrisome variants.

Sette compares this phenomenon to people’s facial-recognition skills.

“Maybe I learn to recognize your face, then I meet your sister,” he said. “It kind of looks like you, so I say, ‘OK, that’s probably someone related.'”

One study – led by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Fauci directs – looked at blood samples from 30 people who’d gotten infected with the coronavirus before the emergence of the variants. It found that the patients’ T cells did indeed respond to the variants first identified in South Africa, Brazil, and the UK well enough to give protection.

Sette’s team reached the same conclusion. Its recent research found that after people recovered from the original virus, their T cells could respond to those three variants, as well as one first identified in Southern California.

The La Jolla researchers also looked at blood samples from people who’d gotten Pfizer’s or Moderna’s shots and found that their T cells responded just as well to the variants first found in the UK, Brazil, and Southern California as they did to the original virus.

In the case of the variant first found in South Africa, T-cell responses decreased by up to 33% but were still detectable. That indicates vaccines most likely prevent deaths and hospitalizations for cases involving variants, even if they’re not quite as effective against stopping infections by those strains.

The likeliest explanation for why the same set of T cells can recognize different variants, according to Fauci, is a phenomenon called cross-reactivity: Helper and killer T cells developed in response to a given virus are capable of reacting to a similar but previously unknown variant.

Top athletes can perform well even when the game changes. These COVID-19 vaccines are the same.

Michael Jordan golfing

Great athletes can still perform relatively well when the game changes.

LeBron James was training for the NFL during the NBA’s 2011 lockout. Michael Jordan played baseball after initially retiring from the NBA in 1993 (albeit, not nearly as well), and he’s got a decent golf game, too.

The only problem when it comes to the performance of our vaccines is: We just don’t quite know where their limits might lie.

“I worry more about the next variant than the current ones,” Faust said.

There may someday be some variant that will pack a wallop to our authorized vaccines, which would make booster shots essential.

But until then, the human body, when primed by a COVID-19 vaccine, seems a lot like an elite athlete: tough to compete against, even when some new, somewhat unfamiliar opponents (like viral variants) arrive on the scene.

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Fauci says vaccines likely work against coronavirus variants: ‘I don’t believe that there’s anything to panic about’

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, prepares to receive his COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health on December 22, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland.

More than 61 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Although some questions linger about whether the vaccines protect us against new, more contagious variants, Anthony Fauci thinks the concerns are overblown.

“I don’t believe that there’s anything to panic about at this point,” Fauci told Insider.

That’s because of a new study on T cells – a type of white blood cell that plays a key role in our immune systems – led by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Fauci directs.

The results showed that people who’d recovered from the original, or “wild type,” version of the coronavirus had T cells that could recognize the variants found in South Africa, Brazil, and the UK.

“Why it’s so important to get vaccinated? Because vaccination is not only going to protect us against the wild type, but it has the potential – to a greater or lesser degree – to also protect against a range of variants,” Fauci said in a White House briefing last week.

T cells aren’t phased by variants

Some of the concerns that vaccines could be less effective against variants come from lab studies involving blood samples from vaccinated people. In one such study, researchers exposed these blood samples to the variant from South Africa, then measured the antibody responses to that variant and to the original virus. They found that vaccinated people produced fewer antibodies that could neutralize the variant than the original virus.

Since the variant from South Africa has similar mutations to the one found in Brazil, it seemed likely vaccines would be less effective against that strain, too.

However, that research didn’t look at T cells. While antibodies stop infection, your body’s T cell response can influence how severe that infection will be. A February study found that patients who developed coronavirus-specific T cells within the first 15 days of their infection had milder COVID-19 than patients whose T cells kicked in later.

There are two crucial types of T cells: killer T cells identify and destroy infected cells, and helper T cells inform B cells about how to craft new antibodies.

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A human T lymphocyte (also called a T cell).

So researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases looked at blood samples from 30 people who’d recovered from the coronavirus prior to the emergence of the variants. They found that the patients’ T cells did indeed respond to these variants well enough to give protection.

A similar study from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California reached the same conclusion. That team measured how T cells from people who’d been previously infected with COVID-19 responded to new variants. The research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, showed that after people recovered from the original virus, their T cells could respond to the variants from the UK, South Africa, Brazil, and Southern California.

The same should then be true of T cells developed as a result of vaccines, since the shots prompt our immune systems to respond in the same way they would to an infection.

The La Jolla researchers have evidence that’s indeed the case. They also looked at blood samples from people who’d gotten Pfizer’s or Moderna’s shots, and found that their T cells responded just as well to the variants from the UK, Brazil, and Southern California as they did to the original virus.

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People arrive at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, to receive COVID-19 vaccines, January 6, 2021.

In the case of the variant from South Africa, T cell responses decreased by up to 33% but were still detectable. That indicates that vaccines most likely prevent deaths and hospitalizations for cases involving variants, even if they’re not quite as effective against those strains.

“Would it be better if all vaccines were 100% effective in preventing infections? Of course,” Alessandro Sette, an infectious-disease expert at the La Jolla Institute, told Insider. “Is it good not to die and have vaccines be 100% effective at preventing hospitalization? Yes.”

T cells last months, if not years

The likeliest explanation for why the same set of T cells can recognize different variants, according to Fauci, is a phenomenon called cross-reactivity: Helper and killer T cells developed in response to a given virus are capable of reacting to a similar but previously unknown variant.

Sette compares this phenomenon to people’s facial-recognition skills.

“Maybe I learn to recognize your face, then I meet your sister,” he said. “It kind of looks like you, so I say, ‘Ok that’s probably someone related.'”

Coronavirus vaccine Moderna trial college students transmission study
Richard Biggs, a biology major at the University of Colorado, Boulder, gets his first dose of the Moderna vaccine, Match 26, 2021.

T cells are also important because they stick around for a long time.

Sette’s group found in a January study that T cells in a majority of recovered COVID-19 patients persist for at least six to eight months after infection. Other research has shown that white blood cells developed in response to certain viruses can last for years. T cells specific to smallpox, for example, take about 10 years to disappear after an infection.

T cells specific to SARS, a coronavirus that shares 80% of its genetic code with this new one, also linger for years. One study found responsive T cells in blood samples from people who’d survived SARS 17 years later.

Sette said he’s optimistic that vaccine-induced T cells will last just as long as T cells from a coronavirus infection.

“There’s no indication the immune response will rapidly decay,” he said.

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Johnson & Johnson takes over COVID-19 vaccine production at Baltimore plant after 15 million doses were ruined

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Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine is delivered as a single shot, while both Pfizer and Moderna’s require two jabs.

  • Johnson & Johnson has been put in charge of COVID-19 vaccine production at a Baltimore plant.
  • The move comes after 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses were ruined in a mixup.
  • The error did not impact any vaccines that are currently being delivered or used.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Johnson & Johnson, with the aid of President Joe Biden’s administration, has been put in charge of a Baltimore vaccine production plant that ruined 15 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine and has moved to stop British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc from utilizing the facility to avoid any future mistakes, senior federal health officials said on Saturday.

The extraordinary decision, which was first reported by The New York Times, was put into action by the US Department of Health and Human Services and will allow the Emergent BioSolutions plant to focus on making the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson confirmed the move on Saturday, stating that it was “assuming full responsibility regarding the manufacturing of drug substance” at Emergent.

“Specifically, the company is adding dedicated leaders for operations and quality, and significantly increasing the number of manufacturing, quality and technical operations personnel to work with the company specialists already at Emergent,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement.

The change comes after the disclosure that Emergent, which is a manufacturing partner to both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, mixed up ingredients from the two coronavirus vaccines in a case of human error, causing regulators to delay authorization of the facility’s vaccine production.

The mixup ruined nearly 15 million Johnson & Johnson doses.

The error did not impact any vaccines that are currently being delivered or used, according to the Times report.

Read more: Here are 9 hurdles Biden’s infrastructure plan would have to overcome in Congress before it can become law

The Biden administration has made note of the delay and has not shifted its stated goal of having enough vaccines for all adult Americans by the end of May.

According to the Times report, federal officials are concerned that the mixup could dampen confidence in the vaccines just as Biden is aggressively pushing for mask mandates to remain in place as new COVID-19 variants spread throughout the US.

Meanwhile, there are concerns about the two-dose AstraZeneca vaccine, which has had a troubled rollout in Europe due to a risk of rare blood clots possibly linked to the vaccine. However, the United Kingdom’s drug regulator deemed the vaccine as safe.

AstraZeneca said that it would work with the Biden administration to find an alternative site for its vaccine production, which has not yet been authorized in the US.

“AstraZeneca and the US government continue to work closely together to support agreed upon plans for the development, production and full delivery of the vaccine,” the company wrote in a statement.

With three vaccines authorized in the US – from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna – it is unclear if there will even be a need for an additional vaccine.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said as much in a recent interview with Reuters.

“That’s still up in the air,” Fauci said. “My general feeling is that given the contractual relationships that we have with a number of companies, that we have enough vaccine to fulfill all of our needs without invoking AstraZeneca.”

However, a federal official said that the HHS is in talks with AstraZeneca “to adapt its vaccine to combat new coronavirus variants,” according to the Times report.

As of Sunday, nearly 30.7 million Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 554,000 people have died of the illness, based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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A children’s picture book about Dr. Anthony Fauci is set to publish June, chronicling his rise from inquisitive kid to working alongside 7 US presidents

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Dr. Anthony Fauci in Washington DC on February 25, 2021.

  • A children’s picture book about the life of Anthony Fauci, the US’s top doctor, is set to publish June.
  • It is written by Kate Messner and based on interviews with Fauci. Simon & Schuster is the publisher.
  • It tells Fauci’s life story, from his Brooklyn childhood to working with seven US presidents, Messner said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A children’s book about the life of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-diseases expert, is set to be published June 29, publisher Simon & Schuster said Sunday.

The book, titled “How a boy from Brooklyn became America’s doctor,” will detail Fauci’s life from his childhood in New York through medical school, to ultimately working alongside seven US presidents, including President Joe Biden, the publisher said.

“His father and immigrant grandfather taught Anthony to ask questions, consider all the data, and never give up – and Anthony’s ability to stay curious and to communicate with people would serve him his entire life,” the book description says.

Kate Messner, the book’s author, told CNN Business that “before Tony Fauci was America’s doctor, he was a kid with a million questions, about everything from the tropical fish in his bedroom to the things he was taught in Sunday school.”

The book is based on Messner’s interviews with Fauci, as well as Fauci’s public appearances, she said. It’s illustrated by Alexandra Bye, a freelance illustrator. Messner revealed the book’s front cover on Twitter Sunday.

“I was aware that I was asking for time from someone who was literally one of the busiest people in America as he provided public health guidance during the worst of the pandemic, but I also knew that Dr. Fauci understands how essential education is in public health,” Messner told CNN Business.

The book includes facts about how COVID-19 vaccines work, and Fauci’s tips for future scientists, according to its description.

“I’m really hopeful that curious kids who read this book – those we’re counting on to solve tomorrow’s scientific challenges – will see themselves in the pages of Dr. Fauci’s story and set their goals just as high,” Messner added.

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Fauci: it’s ‘disturbing’ that Trump voters say they won’t get vaccinated for COVID-19

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Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, and National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci listen as President Donald J. Trump speaks with the coronavirus task force during a briefing in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on Friday, March 20, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said it was “disturbing” Trump supporters were avoiding the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • A poll conducted in March found that 47% of Trump voters said they wouldn’t get the vaccine.
  • Just 10% of people who voted for Biden said they wouldn’t get the vaccine, according to the poll.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, said Sunday that polling data showing Trump voters would not get the COVID-19 vaccine was “disturbing.”

During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Fauci said he hoped that Trump would speak out and encourage his supporters to get the COVID-19 vaccine after all former living presidents, except for Trump, appeared last week in a PSA from the nonprofit Ad Council urging Americans to get the vaccination.

The Ad Council said the commercial was filmed during Biden’s inauguration, which Trump did not attend. Portions of the PSA featuring former President Jimmy Carter, who was unable to attend the inauguration, were filmed separately, according to Deadline.

Fauci, who frequently disagreed with Trump and his administration about the coronavirus pandemic, encouraged the former president to speak up in support of vaccinations.

“I hope he does because the numbers that you gave are so disturbing, how such a large proportion of a certain group of people would not want to make – would not want to get vaccinated merely because of political consideration,” Fauci told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd. “It makes absolutely no sense.”

Fauci made the comments after presented with data from a poll NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey published last week that found that vaccine hesitancy existed strongly among political lines. Nearly half of Republican men who were surveyed said they didn’t plan to get the vaccine as opposed to 6% of Democratic men who said they wouldn’t get the vaccine.

Among Trump voters, 47% of respondents said they didn’t plan to get the shot, while just 10% of people who supported Biden in the 2020 election said they wouldn’t get vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the poll.

Trump and the former first lady Melania Trump both got the vaccine before leaving the White House in January, and Trump last week issued a statement taking credit for the vaccines.

“I wasn’t president, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all. I hope everyone remembers!” Trump said in a statement.

Fauci said Sunday that it was imperative to remove politics from public health. Issues from the vaccine to the wearing of face masks have over the past year served as major dividers between politicians and their followers on the right and left.

“We’ve got to dissociate political persuasion from what’s common sense, no-brainer public health things,” he continued. “The history of vaccinology has rescued us from smallpox, from polio, from measles, from all of the other diseases. What is the problem here?”

Fauci said at this point last year he knew the pandemic was going to be “bad” but said he was unaware of just how bad it would be.

The US death toll, which has surpassed 528,000, remains the highest in the world.

“Not only suffering health-wise and deaths and loss of loved ones, but what, what it has done to society, to the economy, and how it has kind of deepened some of the divisiveness that we’ve had in our, in our country to begin with. It’s just made it even more intense,” he said. “It’s just been a bad time all around.”

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New CDC guidelines will reportedly tell vaccinated Americans it’s safe to gather in small groups

Rochelle Walensky
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director.

  • The CDC plans to release new guidelines this week for Americans who have been fully vaccinated.
  • The recommendations suggest that vaccinated people can host small, at-home gatherings with other fully vaccinated individuals, two senior White House officials told Politico.
  • But even fully vaccinated people will still need to wear masks and social distance in public.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to release guidelines this week detailing how Americans can safely alter their behavior once they’re fully vaccinated.

The recommendations will advise that vaccinated people can host small, at-home gatherings with other fully vaccinated individuals, two senior White House officials involved in drafting the guidelines told Politico.

But even fully vaccinated people – those who have received two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine, or one shot of Johnson & Johnson’s – will still be asked to wear masks and social distance in public, the officials said. The full guidelines could be released as early as Thursday, Politico reported

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, hinted at the new rules during a White House press briefing on Monday.

“I use the example of a daughter coming in from out of town who is doubly vaccinated, and a husband and wife doubly vaccinated, and maybe a next-door neighbor who you know are doubly vaccinated,” Fauci said. “Small gatherings in the home of people, I think you can clearly feel that the risk – the relative risk – is so low that you would not have to wear a mask, that you could have a good social gathering within the home.”

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, during a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting on November 19.

But CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky cautioned at the same briefing that even vaccinated Americans would have to remain vigilant.

“While we may have guidance at the individual level, as Dr. Fauci has suggested, I think we all need to keep our eye on the fact that we’re not out of the woods here yet,” Walensky said.

Average daily coronavirus cases have fallen roughly 65% since the start of January, but cases appear to have plateaued at around 70,000 per day over the last week.

If Americans “suddenly decided that because cases are going down, they felt more comfortable eating inside at a restaurant or socializing outside their pods, we could potentially erase the reductions that have been made over the past few weeks,” Dr. Kate Langwig, an infectious disease ecologist at Virginia Tech, told Insider in February.

For now, Walensky said, “the goal is not to sort of open up travel” just because vaccinations are scaling up. Instead, she said, the Biden administration has set its sights on making sure that “we are in a place to be out of this pandemic” within President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office – roughly by the end of April.

“At 70,000 cases per day, we’re not in that place right now,” Walensky said.

For that reason, experts still advise that fully vaccinated people limit their interactions with non-vaccinated people as much as possible.

“The setting in a home of a small group of people having dinner together, all of whom are vaccinated, is very different when you step out the door and go into a society that has 70,000 new infections per day,” Fauci said.

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Children under 12 will ‘very likely’ be able to get a vaccine in early 2022, Fauci said

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Dr. Anthony Fauci is pictured above on November 19, 2020.

  • High-school children should be able to get a COVID-19 vaccines this fall, Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC.
  • Children under 12 would likely get vaccine access in early 2021, he said. 
  • No coronavirus vaccines have been authorized for children under 16 in the US so far.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A coronavirus vaccine for elementary-school children will “very likely” come in the first few months of 2022, Dr Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, said Sunday.

High-school children should be able to get access to vaccines in the fall of this year, he added.

“If you project realistically when we’ll be able to get enough data to be able to say that elementary school children will be able to be vaccinated, I would think that would be, at the earliest, the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022,” Fauci told NBC.

“But for the high school kids, it looks like some time this fall. I’m not sure it’s exactly on the first day that school opens, but pretty close to that,” he said.

Vaccine makers have started trials on children

Some drugmakers have already started studies into which vaccines are suitable for children, Fauci said.

FDA regulators have so far given emergency use authorization to three coronavirus vaccines in the US, developed by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer and BioNTech.

Johnson & Johnson and Moderna’s vaccines have only been authorized for those 18 and older, while Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine has been authorized for those 16 and older.

In January, Moderna’s CEO, Stephane Bancel, said it would begin studying its coronavirus vaccine in young children “soon,” but added data most likely wouldn’t be available until 2022.

He said that Moderna was aiming to have the vaccine approval extended to adolescents ages 12 and older by this summer, so they can be vaccinated before returning to school in September. Trials began in December.

The University of Oxford, which has developed its vaccine with AstraZeneca, said in February it would start testing its vaccine in children as young as six. The vaccine has not yet been authorized for emergency use in the US.

Biden wants to reopen schools safely and quickly

An integral part of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus recovery program is to help schools reopen safely, and he plans to open the majority of K-8 schools within his first 100 days in office.

In the American Rescue Plan, his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, he called on Congress to provide $130 billion to help schools reopen safely, by supporting social distancing in school buildings and facilitating remote learning. This includes reducing class sizes, improving building ventilation, hiring more janitors, ensuring every school has access to a nurse, and increasing school buses so that pupils can social distance while onboard.

In January, Fauci said he expected vaccination to become mandatory in some institutions in the future, which he said could include schools.

As of Sunday morning, more than 75 million vaccine doses have been administered in the US, according to the CDC. Most of these have been given to people aged 18 and older, but more than 40,000 have been given to people younger than 18, according to the CDC data.

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Fauci said new CDC rules are coming for people who’ve been fully vaccinated

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Anthony Fauci speaking to CNN on Tuesday February 23.

  • New guidance from the CDC is coming for vaccinated people, Dr Anthony Facui said Tuesday. 
  • Speaking to CNN he said he thinks the agency will soon “relax the stringency of the recommendations.”
  • Fauci — who doesn’t run the CDC — said he would personally be “comfortable” letting vaccinated households mix indoors.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN that new guidance from the CDC for those who have been vaccinated should be expected “pretty soon”. 

Speaking to CNN on Tuesday, the White House chief medical advisor said that he would expect less stringent guidance to come soon given the progress with the US vaccination program.

This update should “relax the stringency of the recommendations”, particularly for people in the same family who have been vaccinated.

Fauci is not in charge of CDC, properly called the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but has long been at the heart of the federal response to the pandemic.

It is unclear what the timeline might be for any new rules.

The clue about forthcoming guidance came on Tuesday in Fauci’s appearance on CNN’s “New Day.”

Asked by host Alisyn Camerota whether fully vaccinated people should be able to get together with their family indoors, Fauci said he would personally be comfortable with that idea.

Fauci said he has had a lot of discussions about this, some of which “were not very comfortable”.

His position, he says, is: “if I’m fully vaccinated, and my daughter comes in the house and she’s fully vaccinated, do we really need to have the stringent public health measure that we would if it was a stranger who was not vaccinated?”

He said it was “common sense” that “you don’t have to be as stringent in your public health measures” once vaccines are part of the picture.

But the CDC wants to “sit down, talk about it, look at the data and then come out with a recommendation based on the science”, CNN reported Fauci said.  

On Monday, Fauci said fully vaccinated people should not dine indoors or go to the theater yet.

On the same day, New York Gov. Andy Cuomo said theaters in the state would open in March. Fauci said a better strategy would be to wait until Fall when more people are vaccinated. 

The CDC has already started relaxing some rules for those who are fully vaccinated. On February 11, the center said that fully vaccinated people don’t have to follow quarantine rules

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Fauci says it’s ‘possible’ that Americans will still need to wear masks in 2022

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during a White House Coronavirus Task Force meeting on November 19.

  • Fauci predicts that Americans might still need masks in 2022, CNN reported. 
  • He said how long masks are needed depends on the level of virus in the community.
  • He added that there will be a great deal of normality restored by the fall. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser for Covid-19, said Americans may still need to wear masks in 2022 even as he suggested that the US could reach some sort of normality by the fall. 

Fauci told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” that while he can’t predict when Americans could go back to pre-pandemic behaviors, he thinks “we’re going to have a significant degree of normality beyond the terrible burden that all of us have been through over the last year.”

Asked by Bash whether or not Americans would still need to wear masks a year from now, Fauci said it was “possible” depending on the levels of coronavirus around the country. 

“If you see the levels coming down very low, I want it to keep going down to a baseline that’s so low there is virtually no threat,” Fauci said. “It’ll never be zero but a minimal minimal threat.”

Fauci added that Americans wouldn’t necessarily need to wear masks at the point when most people in the country are vaccinated. “If you combine getting most of the people in the country vaccinated with getting the level of virus in the community very, very low, then I believe you’re going to be able to say, you know, for the most part, we don’t necessarily have to wear masks,” he said.

So far, more than 43.6 million Americans have received their first dose of a vaccine, with over 18 million getting both doses, data from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. 

Coronavirus cases overall in the US are on the decline. CNN reported that there was a 29% decrease in cases over the previous week, the largest drop during the course of the pandemic so far.

Saturday also marked the first time COVID-19  hospitalizations dropped below 60,000 since November 9. 

However, Fauci’s comments also come as the country approaches 500,000 deaths from the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

The US is also dealing with several coronavirus variants that are more transmissible and in some cases deadlier. 

study found that the Coronavirus variant that originated in the United Kingdom is spreading quickly across the US and is likely to become the most dominant variant in many states by next month. Another assessment found that this variant could be 30% to 70% deadlier than the original virus.

 

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Fauci says the US may not have enough COVID-19 vaccines for everybody until June, later than planned

GettyImages anthony fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical advisor.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said COVID-19 vaccines would be widely available to everyone in the US by May or June.
  • Fauci said he had hoped for the end of April, but there were fewer vaccines available than expected.
  • It might take until the end of summer to actually roll out the vaccines to everybody, he said.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The timeline for when COVID-19 vaccines will be available to everyone in the US has slipped into May or possibly June, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.

Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, told CNN that he was initially hoping the US would have enough vaccines for everybody by the end of April. But this was based on having “considerably more doses” of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine than what the US now has. The vaccine has not yet been authorized.

“So that timeline will probably be prolonged, maybe into mid-late May, early June,” Fauci said.

Fauci said this is when the process would start – it could take until the end of the summer to roll out COVID-19 vaccine to everyone, assuming no “glitches” in supply, he said.

More than 15 million Americans have been fully immunized against COVID-19 with two shots of either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccines, according to the Centers for Control and Disease Prevention (CDC), with more than 55.2 million doses administered in total.

People who are vulnerable to severe COVID-19, like older people, those with other medical conditions, and “essential” workers, have been prioritized, depending on the state.

The J&J vaccine is not yet available in the US, but the data from a late-stage clinical trial was submitted to the US regulator  – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  – on February 4, and an emergency green light could come by the end of the month. 

J&J’s single-dose shot was 66% effective at preventing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19 in a global trial of more than 44,000 people.

J&J said at the time of submission to the FDA that the company expected to supply 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the US in the first half of 2021.

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