Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview that he viewed President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate as “moderate.”
“Why not just do the vaccine mandate?” CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta asked Fauci about the issue during a segment on Anderson Cooper’s evening program. “And not say that the testing can be sort of this off-ramp?”
“Well, I think the president is, you know, being somewhat moderate in his demand, if you want to call it that, in that there are some people who really don’t want to get vaccinated, but they don’t want to lose their job,” Fauci replied. “You’ve got to give them an off lane. And the off lane is if you get tested frequently enough, and find out you’re positive, you won’t come to work and you won’t infect other people. So, it really is somewhat of a compromise there. Myself, I would make it just vaccinate or not. But he was trying to be moderate in what his pronouncement was.”
He also said there was no “really firm answer” on convincing those who recovered from Covid-19 to become vaccinated. Gupta noted a study conducted by Israeli researchers that found naturally occurring Covid-19 infections resulted in immunity “for at least seven months.” The researchers found that patients who took a two-dose vaccine developed by Pfizer became 13 times more likely to contract Covid-19 just three months after their second dose.
“As we talk about vaccine mandates, I get calls all the time,” Gupta said. “People say, ‘I have already had covid. I’m protected.’ And now, the study says maybe even more protected than the vaccine, alone. Should they also get the vaccine? How do you make the case to them?”
“I don’t have a really firm answer for you on that,” Fauci said. “That’s something that we’re going to have to discuss regarding the durability of the response. The one thing the paper from Israel didn’t tell you is whether or not as high as the protection is with natural infection, what’s the durability compared to the durability of a vaccine? So it is conceivable that you got infected. You’re protected. But you may not be protected for an indefinite period of time. So I think that is something that we need to sit down and discuss seriously, because you very appropriately pointed out it is an issue. And there could be an argument for saying what you said.”
A study published last month by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health estimated that 103 million Americans — or 31 percent of the country — had contracted Covid-19 by the end of 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by contrast, has logged just 40 million confirmed cases to date, nine months after the larger estimate.
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