'On Friday we should have an answer' on lifting J&J suspension: Fauci

Martha Raddatz interviews Dr. Anthony Fauci on "This Week."
6:11 | 04/18/21

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Transcript for 'On Friday we should have an answer' on lifting J&J suspension: Fauci
Are we going to be here two years from now wearing masks? No, I doubt -- Ask Dr. Fauci the same question. Let me -- you're ranting again. No, I'm not ranting. Yes, you are. I'm just asking you, when is it gonna end? We'd like an answer or your best guess since you've got an answer for everything else. Well, when we get the people in this country vaccinated, the overwhelming majority of the people in the country, and we project that that will very likely be sometime in the beginning to mid of the summer. Dr. Anthony Fauci calmly testifying this week amid an alarming rise in covid cases and hospitalizations across much of the nation. It all comes as federal health agencies maintain a pause on Johnson & Johnson's vaccine over a rare clotting issue. Dr. Fauci joining us now. Good morning, Dr. Fauci. The decision whether to continue the j&j vaccine, what can you tell us this morning about where that stands? Well, by Friday, Martha, we should have an answer as to where we're going with it. I would think that we're not going to go beyond Friday in the extension of this pause. There will very likely be a decision. I don't want to get ahead of them, but I don't think that they're going to completely cancel because the data are such at least from what we see, they're looking to see if there are more cases, but as you know and as we've said so many times, it's an extraordinarily rare event. The pause was to take a look, make sure we know all the information we can have within that time frame and also warn some of the physicians out there who might see people, particularly women who have this particular adverse event that they treat them properly, because one of the standard treatments for blood clots, heparin, is actually contraindicated, but the direct answer to your question we'll know by Friday where we're going with this. No indication they will stop - using it at this point? I really don't think so, I believe we'll get back with it and it might be some restrictions, not sure what that will be, whether it will be age or sex or whether they'll just come back with a warning of some sort. I don't want to get ahead of them but I believe that we'll be back with some sort of indication, a little different than we were before the pause. Dr. Fauci, as you said, this is a very rare disorder. There have been six known cases of illness and one fatality out of 7 million shots. Almost all of those affected were women in the 18 to 49 age group. So why not just pause that age group and women? Well, the reason, Martha, is they want to make sure they're not missing something because oftentimes when you're dealing with adverse events, you get an indication that something is wrong, which is what those six cases were a bit of a red flag, then when you look more deeply into it, you see other things, so if you're going to pause, you might as well just pause, period, and then get back into it as soon as you possibly can. That's why I'm saying I hope and believe that Friday we'll be back on track again. But you want to make sure you don't assume you know everything when actually you don't. You know, even before the pause you know this well, there was concern especially among Republican voters about getting a vaccine at all. Two in five Republicans in polls say they want to avoid the vaccine altogether. So how do you depoliticize the vaccine, and can you reach herd immunity if that many people don't get vaccinated? Well, that will be a problem, Martha, if we get a substantial proportion of people not getting vaccinated. What we are doing is we're trying to get by a community corps trusted messages that anyone would feel comfortable listening to whether you're a Republican, a Democrat, an independent or whomever you are that you're comfortable and these are people in the community, they could be sports figures, they could be entertainers, they could be clergy, they could be people who the community trusts, and we want to go that way to get people to understand how important it is, not only for your own health, but also for the health of your family and ultimately, as you alluded to, for the health of the country, because when you get an overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated for absolutely certain you're going to see those numbers start coming down, which will make it better for everyone. Right now we're in somewhat of a precarious position, we're having seven-day average over 60,000 new infections per day. That's a place you don't want to be. And we'll get out of that place the more and more people get vaccinated, and fortunately we're vaccinating at least 3 million to 4 million people a day, and we're getting out there about 30 million vaccinations per week. That's good news. We've got to keep that up, but we also have to make sure that people don't throw caution to the wind and declare victory prematurely. That's not the time to do that. And, Dr. Fauci, we just have about 20 seconds left. Pfizer's CEO said a third dose of their vaccine would be needed within a year of the initial vaccination. Moderna, j&j have said the same. Do you have any indication when we will know this, and is there a plan in place? Yeah, what you do, Martha, is you take a look at the level of what we consider a correlative immunity, be it an antibody, and when the slope starts coming down, you'll predict when you get below the safe level or you could start seeing breakthrough infections. I believe by the time we get to the end of the summer and the beginning of the fall, we'll have a pretty good idea whether we definitely or not need to give people boosts and when we need to give it to them. Okay, thanks so much for joining us this morning, Dr. Fauci. Always great to see you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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