Dr Anthony Fauci insisted again on Tuesday that the COVID-19 vaccine was safe and told skeptics who say it can’t be full-proof because it was developed so quickly that the fast timeline was down to ‘extraordinary’ science and investment, not cutting corners.
Speaking on Good Morning America on Monday, Fauci said he would recommend to President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that they should all get the vaccine.
He says he plans to get it himself and may even do so on television to prove that it is safe.
On Monday, the first people in the US received the vaccine after months of waiting.
But some – including healthcare workers – are dubious of the research behind it.
The Pfizer vaccine was developed in less than a year – which is considerably less time than most other vaccines. Its safety was determined by studying a trial group of 44,000 people, half of whom were given the vaccine and half who were given a placebo.
But there is little information on if it’s safe for children under the age of 16, women who are pregnant or hope to be soon, or what the long-term effects of it are.
In the UK, two British healthcare workers who received it went into anaphylactic shock afterwards.
Speaking on Good Morning America on Monday, Fauci said he would recommend to President-elect Joe Biden, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that they should all get the vaccine
Registered nurse Jeffrey Rousseau, with the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System, receives a shot with the first batch of Pfizer Inc.’s coronavirus vaccine administered by registered nurse Ayonna Williams in New Orleans, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020
Dr. Fauci insisted that it is safe and that rather than cutting any safety corners, the fast timeline was down to extraordinary science and investment.
‘The speed was not at all at the sacrifice of safety – the speed was the reflection of extraordinary advances in vaccine platform technology.
‘To be able to do things technically in months that some time ago – five or ten years ago – would have taken years.
‘In addition, the extraordinary investment and when I say investment, hundreds of millions of dollars in getting the vaccine ready to be distributed as soon as it was proven to be safe and effective.
‘People understandably are skeptical about the speed but we have to keep emphasizing, the speed means the science was extraordinary that got us here,’ he said.
He said that he would recommend to anyone to take it, especially if they were in a position of power, and that President Trump still should even though he had the virus in October.
Fauci added that President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris should take the vaccine ‘as soon as possible’.
‘This is a person who very soon will be the President of the United States, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will very soon be the Vice President of the United States.
Fauci said he wants Kamala Harris and Joe Biden to be vaccinated as soon as possible ‘for security reasons’
He also recommended that President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence get the vaccine. Trump had COVID in October and likely has antibodies but it’s unclear how long they last
Trump tweeted on Sunday that he would wait until ‘the appropriate time’ to get the vaccine
‘For security reasons I really feel strongly we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can.
‘You want him fully protected as he enters into the presidency in January.’
Asked if Trump and Pence should take it, he said: ‘If he were asking me I would recommend that he, as well as Vice President Pence. You still want to protect people who are very important to our country right now.
‘Even though the President himself was infected and he has likely antibodies… we’re not sure how long that protection lasts so to be doubly sure, I would recommend that he get vaccinated as well as the Vice President,’ he said.
President-elect Biden’s team has said that he will take the vaccine as soon as Fauci recommends it to him.
Trump tweeted earlier this week that he would wait until ‘the appropriate time’ to be vaccinated.
He canceled a plan to give White House staff early vaccination after it drew criticism on social media and claims that they were cutting the line.
The vaccine is not due to become publicly available until February or March.
Until then, nursing home staff and residents and healthcare workers are being given priority access to it.
Trump tweeted on Sunday: ‘People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary.
‘I have asked that this adjustment be made. I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time.’