“We can’t have it both ways; we can’t be both unmasked and not socially distant and unvaccinated. It won’t work,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, CNN medical analyst and professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University said Monday.
About a third of the country’s cases came from five states, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Nevada, Reiner said. All of which have less than 48% of their total population vaccinated, CDC data shows
Of all deaths from the virus in June, more than 99% were unvaccinated people, said Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We have to choose our side and the side is we have to be vaccinated,” Reiner said. “We have the tools to put that in place – we can do it this summer – but the way to do it is vaccination.”
To vaccinate more Americans, the authorities will have to address the reasons for the reluctance of the population.
For some, it is that the vaccines have not been fully approved, which Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN is only a matter of time. .
“The idea that it hasn’t been approved yet is a technicality of the way the FDA does business,” Fauci said.
And for some, the political divide has inhibited vaccinations, but Reiner stressed that with more than 600,000 Americans dead, it is the virus that should be seen as the enemy, not the vaccines.
In Arkansas, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States at 35% according to CDC data, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said that as a black man, he was skeptical of getting the vaccine, but now wants to lead a way to make sure all residents get the vaccine.
“This is serious and we shouldn’t have to let someone die for us to truly believe in research and science. What we continue to do is follow policy and research focused on data and everything we do in our administration, and that’s just another way to keep doing it because, again, it saves lives, ”Scott said.
“Nothing Has Changed” After Pfizer Recall Meeting
Federal health officials met with vaccine maker Pfizer / BioNTech on Monday to discuss if and when a booster of its Covid-19 vaccine might be needed.
Pfizer presented data to federal health officials for about an hour, suggesting boosters may soon be needed to maintain protection from Covid-19, but Fauci told CNN after the meeting: “Nothing has really changed. “.
He said based on current data, federal health agencies, like the CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration, are not ready to recommend a recall.
“We made it clear that their data is part of a much bigger puzzle,” Fauci told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
The meeting came after Pfizer said last week it was seeing decreased immunity to its coronavirus vaccine and is stepping up efforts to develop a booster to protect people from the variants.
Pfizer said in a statement Monday that it would release “more definitive data in a peer-reviewed journal and continue to work with regulatory authorities to ensure our vaccine continues to provide the highest level of protection possible.”
The message Fauci hopes the public will take from the meeting, he said, is that the discussion of the recalls does not mean that current vaccines do not provide sufficient protection against the virus.
“What we are talking about is not necessarily their quality, because they are unquestionably great,” he said. “It is the sustainability of the response that is in question, which is a perfectly reasonable thing when dealing with a vaccine.
“We don’t know how long this extraordinarily high level of protection will last and that’s what we’re talking about.”
Boosters aren’t recommended at this time, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be advised at some point for the general population or for specific vulnerable groups, he said.
For example, Dr Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said on Monday that it was surprising that there was no discussion at the briefing on recalls for people immunocompromised.
A “tidal wave” coming towards unvaccinated Americans
The infection rate among unvaccinated Americans is so much higher, CNN medical analyst Sanjay Gupta said Monday, that America will soon move more of a divide between vaccinated and unvaccinated populations to vaccinated and infected.
Dr Howard Jarvis, an emergency physician in Springfield, Missouri, told CNN on Monday that his sick patients are not all vaccinated.
“If they are sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, they are not vaccinated. This is the absolute common denominator between these patients,” he said. “I can see the regret on their faces. You know, we ask them, because we want to know, are you vaccinated? And it’s very clear that a lot of them regret (not being vaccinated).”
In St. Louis County, Missouri, officials said new cases had risen 63% in the past two weeks, and county manager Sam Page said “a tidal wave reaches our unvaccinated populations “.
Covid-19-related hospital admission rates have increased 36% in the past two weeks in the St. Louis metro area, according to a report from the St. Louis County Public Health Department.
“This variant is spreading quickly and this variant has the ability to devastate those who find themselves in its wake, and that is why getting vaccinated now is so essential,” Page said.
CNN’s Kendall Lanier, Kaitlin Collins, Amanda Sealy, Lauren Mascarenhas, Deidre McPhillips and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.
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