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Fauci reaffirms US COVID-19 vaccines effectiveness against Delta variant

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THE Director, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disaeses in the United States, Anthony Fauci says, COVID-19 vaccines have shown to be very effective against the strain and urged those who have yet to be vaccinated to do so.

Speaking at a press briefing along with the White House  COVID-19 response team and public health officials, Fauci announced that from June 14, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 96 per cent effective against hospitalisation from the Delta variant after two doses, and the AZ (AstraZeneca) was 92 per cent effective against hospitalisation after two doses as pointed out by England public health.

“The good news about this is that the vaccines that are used in this country do very well against the Delta variant.”

He also stressed that “people who are unvaccinated are at significant risk of a virus that spreads so efficiently,” and urged people to protect themselves.

“We are asking people, almost pleading with people, if you are not vaccinated, please get vaccinated,” he said.

The Delta variant, first identified in India, has also been identified in at least 85 countries. It now accounts for one in five infections in the US. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the ‘variant of concern’ – B.1.617.2 – accounts for more than one-fourth of the total active COVID-19 cases in the country and has reached nearly every state.

“Since these vaccines – the AZ and the J&J (Johnson & Johnson) are based on very similar platforms, one could anticipate and make a reasonable assumption that the results against the Delta variant would be at least similar, perhaps even better. We are now looking at neutralisation data, and soon we will have more firm data which we will make available to you as soon as it occurs,” he mentioned while speaking on the J&J single-dose vaccine.

Stressing that the science is clear, Fauci said that the best way to protect an individual against the virus and the variants is to be fully vaccinated. “It works. It’s free. It’s safe. It’s easy. And it’s convenient,” he added.

Regarding full approval of the COVID-19 vaccines by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the top US health expert exuded confidence that it will happen soon, adding that “it would really be a most unusual situation not to see this get full approval.”

He also said that the US can still celebrate the July 4 national holiday if people are fully vaccinated and protected against the virus.

Meanwhile, the Director of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rochelle Walensky, said that the Delta variant is likely to eclipse the Alpha variant, first identified in the UK, in coming weeks.

“An estimated 25 per cent of all reported SARS-CoV-2 sequences nationwide are the Delta variant. And in some regions of the country, nearly one in two sequences is the Delta variant,” she said.

In tandem with Fauci’s statements, Walensky said that all US-authorised vaccines provide protection against the circulating variants in the country, including Delta.

White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said that 80 million COVID-19 vaccines have been shared with 46 countries, the African Union, and CARICOM through a combination of bilateral sharing and sharing through COVAX.

The US has administered at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to over 53 per cent of its population and aims to achieve herd immunity through vaccination as soon as possible.

On Wednesda,y White House spokeswoman, Jen Psaki said that the United States is on track to have 70 per cent vaccinated in the US in a couple of weeks,”

 According to Psaki, “ More than 70 per cent of Americans 30 and older have received at least one dose.”

He stressed that the Delta variant is not discriminating by age.

“Vaccines approved in the US are effective for the Delta variant but “if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not safe or protected. We know that our vaccines that have been approved in the United States are effective in protecting Americans from the Delta variant. It’s important for people to understand that. So if you have been vaccinated, the message we’re conveying is: You’re safe,” Psaki told reporters.

The Pfizer-BioNTech shot showed to be 88 per cent effective against symptomatic disease and 96 percent effective against hospitalisation.

Trends clearly underscore that the Delta Variant is surging almost 50 per cent of all COVID19. As a result, the question of mask-wearing has come back. Los Angeles County health officials recommend that even fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks indoors in public as a precaution due to the rise of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus.

Angeles County now “strongly recommends” everyone, including those fully vaccinated, to wear masks indoors to curb the variant, especially when “you don’t know everyone’s vaccination status” the county said in its statement.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released similar recommendations earlier this week, advising everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to continue wearing masks.

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