The Slatest

Fauci: J&J Vaccine “Very Likely” Should Have Been 2 Doses From the Start

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, answers a question during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on July 20, 2021.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, answers a question during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on July 20, 2021. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/Getty Images

Americans who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine shouldn’t be concerned about the shot’s lower efficacy rate now that boosters are on the way, Dr. Anthony Fauci said. But he also said that experts at the Food and Drug Administration have made clear the company should have come out with a two-dose vaccine to begin with. “I think that they should feel good about it because what the advisers to the FDA felt is that given the data that they saw, very likely this should have been a two dose vaccine to begin with,” Fauci said on ABC’s This Week.

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Fauci spoke about the additional shot mere days after the FDA vaccine advisory panel approved boosters for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Friday. The panel said that all those who got the single-dose vaccine should get a second shot as soon as two months after the first dose. “I think it’s very favorable for those who have received the J&J vaccine. I don’t see that as a problem at all,” he added.

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Federal regulators have yet to give the official go-ahead for the booster shots but they often follow the recommendations from the experts. For now Fauci said he believes those who took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be able to get a different shot for the booster. “I think what needs to be done, and I believe will be done, is that there will be a degree of flexibility that will be left up to the individual based on their individual situation,” Fauci said on Fox News Sunday when he was asked about the possibility of mixing vaccines. The data shows “that when you boost Moderna or Pfizer against the original J&J, you get a much higher antibody level,” Fauci said. Fauci also dismissed speculation that the way the White House has been so adamant in favor of booster shots had an influence over the regulatory process. “I don’t think there’s any a political issue there; I think it’s just public health data and evidence,” Fauci said.

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Fauci also assured Americans they can feel safe celebrating the holidays if they’re vaccinated. “I believe strongly that, particularly in the vaccinated people, if you’re vaccinated and your family members are vaccinated … that you can enjoy the holidays,” he said. “You can enjoy Halloween, trick-or-treating and certainly Thanksgiving with your family and Christmas with your family.”

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