Biden pushes the picks, not more restrictions like variable spreads

Biden pushes the picks, not more restrictions like variable spreads

Washington – His chief medical adviser said President Joe Biden will urge Americans to vaccinate and receive a booster dose as he seeks to allay concerns Monday about the new COVID-19 variant, but will not immediately push for more restrictions to stop its spread. .

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and senior advisor on COVID-19 to Biden, said Monday that no cases of the variant have yet been identified in the United States, but it was “inevitable” that it would eventually make its way into the country. .

Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Fauci said scientists hope to learn how well current COVID-19 vaccines protect against t variants, and how dangerous they are compared to previous strains.

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“We don’t really know,” Fauci said, describing the speculation as “premature.”

It’s possible that no Omicron vaccine will start production for another two or three months, so getting boosters now is a “very important first line of defense,” Dr. Paul Burton, chief medical officer of vaccine maker Moderna, said Monday.

Biden is scheduled to speak later Monday about the urgent need for a COVID-19 vaccination to protect against variants, especially since nearly 80 million Americans ages 5 and older have yet to receive an injection. But Biden was not expected to announce any new virus-related restrictions, other than last week’s move to restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries in the region, as of Monday.

Other countries have also been moving to close their borders or reinstate lockdowns amid a raft of strict measures to prevent the spread of the omicron variant, but Fauci noted that the United States has not followed suit.

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Asked if more US restrictions were imminent, Fauci said, “I don’t think so at all.” Later, on “CBS Mornings,” he said, “Let’s not talk about closings.”

Fauci said there is no need to panic about the new alternative, but that “we should be concerned, and our interest should motivate us to do the things we know work,” such as vaccines.

Fauci said the move to limit most travel from countries where Omicron was first identified was aimed at buying time for the United States to learn more about the alternative and “stepping up” the local vaccination campaign.

“It’ll buy you a few weeks because if you can keep things going for two weeks, you can do a lot of things,” he told CBS.

However, he said, the Omicron will eventually make it to the United States and could, like the Delta variant before it, become the dominant strain, because the Omicron “has the advantage of transmissibility” over other variants.

Pharma companies are already working on modifying their existing COVID-19 vaccines to better attack the omicron variant, but Fauci said Americans should make it a priority to get their first dose or a booster dose now, rather than waiting for the newly designed shot.

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“I would highly suggest you get a boost now,” he said.

He added that based on what scientists learn about the omicron variant in the coming weeks, “we may not need” targeted boosters to contain that strain of the virus.

Burton said Moderna and other vaccine companies are testing existing COVID-19 vaccines to determine their effectiveness against the omicron variant.

“If we need to manufacture a variant of an Omicron, it will take a few weeks, and maybe what we’re looking at is two to three months until we can really start manufacturing,” Burton told ABC.

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

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