Fauci: Americans should get vaccinated even if Merck’s Covid pill reduces deaths

As the nation’s death toll surpassed 700,000 in October, Dr.Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s pandemic advisor, underscored the need for the 70 million Americans eligible for a vaccine to be vaccinated. during interviews on Sunday morning. shows.

“Many of these deaths were inevitable, but many, many are preventable, were preventable and will be in the future,” said Dr Fauci, who is also director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on the State of the Union from CNN. .

Dr Fauci was enthusiastic about the development of the new antiviral pill Merck, describing it as “extremely important”. Announcing the results of its clinical trial last Friday, Merck said the pill was able to halve the risk of hospitalization and death from the virus.

But he also warned Americans shouldn’t wait to get vaccinated because they think they can take the pill. While the new drug may lower a person’s risk, the best way to protect yourself is to avoid infection, he said.

Merck said it will seek emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for its drug, known as molnupiravir, as soon as possible. The pills could be available by the end of the year.

Dr Fauci pointed to the stark difference in the number of people who died during Merck’s clinical trial for the treatment, with eight among the placebo group and none among those taking the drug. “It’s very impressive, so we look forward to the implementation of this and its effects on those infected,” he said.

The federal government has placed advance orders for 1.7 million doses of the new drug. But Dr Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner under President Trump and a member of the Pfizer board of directors, said that amount was “not enough” on CBS’s Face the Nation, covering just a month of infections in southern states since the emergence of the Delta variant. . He also compared that amount with the national stockpile of drugs to treat an influenza pandemic, which he said runs into the tens of millions.

Previously, Dr Fauci had dismissed the idea that federal officials had not purchased enough drugs, saying they had placed “a good bet” on the treatment.

“We have options for millions more,” he said in the program, predicting the company would increase production to meet demand in the United States and around the world.

Dr Fauci also expressed optimism that the country is now experiencing a slowdown in the number of cases, signaling a potential respite from the pandemic. “We’re definitely turning a corner in this particular push,” he said in an ABC News interview with “This Week”.

But he also declined to predict whether people would be able to freely congregate next Christmas, telling CBS News that “it’s just too early to tell.”

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