What will it take for the unvaccinated to get their vaccines? How to stop kids from getting sick and hospitalized with COVID? Dr. Anthony Fauci has plenty of things to worry about. Among them are new coronavirus variants that could evade existing vaccines.
The chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases spoke with the New York Times science reporter Apoorva Mandavilli on Thursday at a New York Times online event. Read on to learn his key pieces of advice and a big warning—and to ensure your health and the health of others.
Dr. Fauci Said “Anything is Possible” When it Comes to New Variants
“Anything is possible,” said Dr. Fauci, when asked about a variant that may be worse than Delta. “I would be surprised if you had a virus that was more dangerous for one age group versus another, but we’ve seen that in the past.
So I wouldn’t be surprised if it occurred. One of the things that are a danger for the emergence of other variants, is that when you have, as we do in this country about 75 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated, who are not getting vaccinated, that gives the virus ample opportunity to circulate and replicate.
And as we know, viruses don’t mutate unless they replicate. And if you allow the virus to replicate, you’re giving it ample opportunity to mutate. And if you get the right constellation of mutations, then you get a new variant. And that’s what we’re concerned about.”
Is he worried about one that might defeat the vaccines, asked Mandavilli? “I worry about a lot of things,” said Dr. Fauci. “Yes. And, and one of them is a variant that would be of it evading our vaccine.
Fortunately, we haven’t seen that the higher the level of antibodies against the original prototype virus, the greater protection you get against all the variants and that’s been consistent, which is a good thing because remember the vaccines that we’re taking now—that you and I have gotten— were not against Alpha or Beta or Delta. It was against the original prototype.
And yet when you get vaccinated, you get a high enough response that you get protection against all the variants. So that’s what I’m hoping for, that even as we get new variants, the protection induced by the vaccine, plus a booster will continue to give us good protection.”
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow public health guidelines and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live. Get vaccinated ASAP. If you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered. Don’t travel. Practice social distancing, avoid large crowds, practice good hand hygiene, and protect your life and the lives of others- eat this