This was a huge coronavirus news week, as a vaccine was approved for 5 to 11 year olds, and the White House announced a January 4th deadline for employees at companies with over 100 employees to get vaccinated. With an estimated 64 million Americans still unvaccinated, we have a long ways to go. How can you stay safe? Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on MSNBC’s All in With Chris Hayes to advise on just that, and when and if to expect another sure in cases. Read on for five essential life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
“Very, very soon,” said Dr. Fauci about when it’ll be super-easy to get a vaccine for your 5 to 11 year old. Some pharmacies and pedicatrician’s offices are taking appointments now. “We were preparing for this for quite a while, to the point where by the time we get just a few days into November 8th, we will be at full speed. So it’s inching up to that over the next few days, but clearly by the time we get into next week, we’re going to have all systems go, namely, have the product available appropriately in pharmacies, in pediatric offices, in children’s hospitals and in places of distribution for the children. So we hope to really be able to put a full court press on this and hopefully get as many of these children vaccinated as possible.” He confirmed, as we said, that you could just get one at your pharmacy or pediatrician.
“We absolutely have to respect the concerns of parents because parents are going to have valid questions and it’s up to us in our communication to answer those questions and to make that information available widely,” said Fauci. “I mean, you want to have trusted messengers. Some of the best trusted messages in these cases would be pediatricians or family members or people who have had vaccination as an adult, and can talk about the results. The data are very clear, the efficacy data and the safety data are FDA, particularly when it comes to children are very, very scrupulous in figuring out whether or not we have a benefit risk ratio. That’s favorable to the benefit. And they clearly came out with that. And that’s the reason why they authorized it. And that’s the reason why we had a 14 to zero recommendation from the advisory committee on immunization practices, whose job is to look out for both the safety of the children, as well as the protection from the vaccine. So we got to get that message across to parents and not put down or be put off by their very, very valid questions. We like them to ask questions. We believe we have the data to back up the answers.”
“You have a pandemic phase when things in many respects are out of control, then you get a turning around of a deflection of the dynamics of the outbreak. From there you go into control and control is a wide bracket because better than control is elimination. For example, we’ve eliminated polio from the United States. We’ve eliminated malaria from the United States. The next one down is eradication. I don’t think we should be aspirational about eradication. I don’t think that’s going to occur. Hopefully we may ultimately be able to eliminate it, but given the transmissibility of this particular virus, I don’t think that’s something that we’re going to see in the future, in the reasonable future, but control is where we want to be. And we want to be at control, at a low enough level of background infection in the community with the launch proportion of individuals vaccinated, and those who in fact were infected. They will have a degree of protection for a period of time. We’re recommending that they ultimately wind up getting vaccinated, too, so that you have a veil of protection over the community. So even though you haven’t eliminated it, it’s not having an impact on our way of life. That’s what I would consider adequate control.”
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“If we continue to get people vaccinated, and now we have 28 million children from five to 11 who are eligible to be vaccinated. We have not as many as we’d like of the adolescents who are going to get vaccinated—about half of them all. We want to get that number up if we continue. So really eat away at that recalcitrant number of around 60 million and get more people vaccinated. We’re obviously going to have cases because when you get the cold weather, you put people indoors. Sometimes they even pull back on mitigation, but we certainly want to make sure we don’t get severe disease among a significant number of people or hospitalizations. If we can go in a steady way to keep people more and more vaccinate”—Hayes had mentioned cases rising in Europe—”you mentioned Europe. It’s very interesting, Chris, if you look at the profile of Europe and look at the countries that are highly vaccinated, namely more than 70% of the population has at least one dose. The cases are way down. If you look at those countries in Europe, which are mostly Eastern Europe that have, let’s say less than 60% of the population, you see a big blip up, just continuing to prove that vaccination is the answer.”
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.