Dr. Anthony Fauci on COVID spikes and understanding the vaccine

The coronavirus vaccine is rolling out across America and it is off to a slower than expected start. We wanted to know why that is and what we can expect as we push through the winter. So we invited the nation’s leading infectious disease expert to be a part of Rural Health Matters.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says that there is reason for the recent spike in COVID cases and deaths, as the vaccines roll out.

“We believe it’s due to the fact that as we got into the colder months of the late fall and early winter, that people do things more indoors versus outdoors. We had the travel and socializing over. the Christmas and New Year holiday,” Dr. Fauci states. “That’s the reason why we feel that as we get deeper into January things are going to get worse before they get better.”

That includes the threat of a new strain already making its way across the country. However, Fauci believes the vaccines could help with that too.

“We want to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we possibly can, because once you blunt the replication you will by definition blunt the ease of which a particular virus mutates,” he explains.

Many people do not want to get the vaccine. Dr. Fauci thinks understanding the process of how these treatments come about could help.

According to Fauci, “The reason it was so quick is that what we did, we made use of years worth of fundamental basic research, which has led to spectacular scientific advances in vaccine platform technology... Safety wasn’t sacrificed, nor was scientific integrity.”

Others are concerned about the government’s involvement and pharmaceutical companies who they believe are just out to make more money.

“The group that decides whether it’s safe and effective is not the federal government, nor is it the company. It’s an independent group called the Data Safety and Monitoring Board, who are the only ones who have access to this data,” he adds. “When they determine that it looks like it’s safe and effective, they then allow the company to see the data. The company then examines it and presents it to the professionals, not the political appointees, but the professional scientists at the FDA.”

Dr. Fauci says that grocers and pharmacies are helping distribute the vaccine and setting up locations at schools and libraries could help distribution in rural communities.