Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor, said Sunday the administration is sticking with its recommendation of administering Covid-19 booster shots eight months after the completion of the original shots.
But, speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Fauci said the government’s experts will remain flexible about the recommendations as additional data comes in.
"We're going to have to go through the standard way of the FDA looking at the data and then the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. So although we're sticking with eight, we're remaining flexible that if the data tells us differently, we'll make adjustments accordingly. But for now, we're sticking with the eight."
However, as Fauci told host Martha Raddatz, there's still a lot that can be done in the meantime to tackle the surge in Covid cases across the country.
"We still are in a situation where there's a lot we can do about it," Fauci said. "We have now about 80 million people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet gotten vaccinated. We need to get those people vaccinated. We have the highly effective and safe tool to really get those numbers down."
Recent data shows that the daily new case average is up 153 percent over the last month, with hospitalizations surpassing 100,000 for the first time since January and Covid-related deaths on the rise.
"Those are numbers that are really quite startling," Fauci said. "We are still in an upsurge. The numbers that you [Raddatz] gave are very, very alarming. But we can do something about it. If it was a situation in which we had no recourse or no tools, you could see how frustrating it would be."
"But it's even more frustrating when you have this situation where we do have a vaccine that's highly effective, highly safe, accessible, free and it works," he continued. "We've really got to get those people are are not vaccinated in that group, vaccinated."
The Delta variant, Fauci explained, is highly transmissible — more so than prior variants — and is affecting both adults and children, especially those who cannot be vaccinated, such as children under 12. Fauci also mentioned that FDA hopes to have enough data by mid-September or early October to assess the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations for younger children.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper noted that the campaign committee of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been offering “Don’t Fauci My Florida” merchandise even as the state has been hit hard by the Delta variant surge. Fauci said such attacks on him were misguided and unfortunate.
“It’s just a reflection of the politicization of what should be a purely public health issue,” Fauci said.
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