Following Friday's FDA blow to Biden's aggressive push
to buy the Pfizer CEO a new yacht for covid booster shots, Anthony Fauci said booster shots for more of the US population remain a possibility soon, as additional data on the still-widening outbreak come in.
Fauci, who is still Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser and is somehow employed as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases despite recent evidence that he funded Chinese gain-of-function virus research at Wuhan despite an explicit US ban and may have been indirectly responsible for the Covid pandemic, spoke two days after an advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration smacked down Biden's national rollout of boosters for all ages, approving them only for people 65 and older and those who are medically vulnerable.
“The story is not over because more and more data is coming in and will be coming in,” Fauci said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
On ABC's This Week, Dr. Fauci defends Biden getting ahead of the science and announcing a plan to rollout booster shots only for it to be shot down by the FDA. "Isn't a timeline like that just confusing to people," Martha Raddatz asked. Fauci said it wasn't a problem. pic.twitter.com/OsKpWddmNo— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) September 19, 2021
Last month, Biden said a broad booster plan would begin on Monday, but the FDA’s vaccine advisory panel voted overwhelmingly against recommending booster shots for the general public and instead voted to recommend them to individuals who are aged 65 and older. During that meeting, a number of scientists expressed concern for booster-associated side-effects among younger people and children. As a result, the panel's narrower recommendation was, as Bloomberg writes "seen as rebuke to a president whose policy was seen as getting ahead of the science."
For what it's worth, Fauci said he did not believe the panel “made a mistake.”
“The one thing people need to realize is data are coming in literally on a daily and weekly basis,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “They are going to continue to look at this literally in real-time.” In other words, Fauci is confident that with time, new "science" will come in to debunk the existing "science" which according to public commentary heard during the FDA indicated, the Pfizer vaccine kills more people than it saves.
Dr. James Hildreth, a voting member on the FDA expert panel, said that he has “a serious concern of myocarditis in young people.” Meanwhile, another expert, Dr. Melinda Wharton, said she “not feel comfortable” with recommending boosters to younger people due to the risk of myocarditis.
Fauci's view was shared by the head of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, who said he also believes COVID-19 vaccine booster doses will be expanded despite a panel of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) experts recommending against them for the general population.
In an interview on Sunday morning, Collins, whose agency does not oversee the FDA, said that the booster doses will be approved in the future.
“I think the big news is that they actually did approve the initiation of boosters, and remember they’re taking a snapshot of right now. We’re going to see what happens in the coming weeks,” Collins told “Fox News Sunday.” “It would surprise me if it does not become clear over the next few weeks, that administration of boosters may need to be enlarged.”
For the claim, Collins referenced studies and data published in Israel and the United States, which Pfizer also cited to make its arguments in favor of booster doses to the FDA.
“Based upon the data that we’ve already seen both in the U.S. and in Israel, it’s clear that waning of the effectiveness of those vaccines is a reality, and we need to respond to it,” Collins said, adding that he would be “surprised” if the boosters are not recommended for individuals younger than 65. However, he told the broadcaster that he isn’t sure if “absolutely everyone” will be recommended to get boosters.
“I’m a little troubled that people are complaining that the process isn’t working for them,” he said. “The process is to look at the data have the experts consider it, and then make their best judgment at that point, recognizing that the judgments may change.”
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Separately, Fauci also said he expected vaccines for children younger than 12, who aren’t eligible yet, would be evaluated as early as October.
“Sometime in the next few weeks, as we get into October, we’ll be able to see the vaccines for children get enough data to be presented for safety and immunogenicity,” said Fauci.
The CDC authorized shots for children aged 12 and older earlier this year. Some school districts, including the one overseeing public schools in Los Angeles, have made it mandatory for children returning to class to get fully vaccinated. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla last week said that the firm, which makes one of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines in the world, will likely release clinical data on vaccines for 6-month-olds to 5-year-olds in October. COVID-19 vaccine data for children between the ages of 5 and 11 will come sooner, he said.
Federal government health officials have argued that younger children should get vaccinated due to the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
“Currently, there are still trials ongoing and so the agency has to wait for the company to submit the data for those trials,” FDA vaccine regulator Peter Marks said Aug. 23. “We certainly want to make sure that we get it right.”
Fauci also said that requiring vaccines on airlines, a policy Fauci has said he personally supports, remains a possibility.
“Everything is on the table,” he said NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We consider these things literally on a daily basis.”