'(We're) really grateful that we have 3 really efficacious vaccines': Dr. Fauci

George Stephanopoulos interviews White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci on "This Week."
5:37 | 02/28/21

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Transcript for '(We're) really grateful that we have 3 really efficacious vaccines': Dr. Fauci
We've all seen the news about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, today, just third safe effective vaccine and it's out. They've approved it today. This could unite us as a country, to vaccinate America, to protect America, to heal America, and I know we can do this. Good news on the vaccine front, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine approved for emergency use. We're joined by president Biden's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Great news to have a third vaccine out there, but there's a fair amount of skepticism out there as well, because the vaccine has a lower effectiveness overall against pfizer and modern. About 72% to 95%. What do you say to those who want to wait for the pfizer or modern vaccines? We've got to get away from that train of thought for the following reason. The only way you really know the difference between vaccines is by comparing them head to head. We have three highly efficacious vaccines that are safe and efficacious, that's the bottom line, and the j&j, if you look at them particularly in things that we really care about, that are important. Greater than 85% efficacy after severe disease and critical disease, and there were no deaths or hospitalizations in any of the countries that were tested. Remember, they tested in the United States, in South Africa, and in South America. This is a good vaccine, I think we need to pull away from this comparing and parsing numbers until you compare them head to head. Just be really grateful that we have three really efficacious vaccines. So bottom line, if you're offered a vaccine, which ever one you're offered you should take it? Absolutely. George, the most important thing from a public health standpoint is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as quickly as possible. I can tell you, I'm vaccinated now. If I wasn't vaccinated and I was heading into a clinic, we have Johnson & Johnson, I'd take the one available to me now. The quicker you get vaccinated the more quickly you'll be protected. You'll add on to the overall protection in your county and your country. To me that's a no-brainer. We don't know a lot about how vaccines affect transmission. Whether they truly prevent transmission. For people who have been vaccinated, what can they do? Well, you should still be careful, George, that you could conceivably have, because the endpoint of the vaccine efficacy trial is preventing symptomatic disease, which means that potentially theoretically, and maybe in reality, you're going to have infection that you don't get any clinical manifestation, you could be protected from disease and still have virus, and if that's the case that's the reason why you hear all the public health officials say, wear a mask. The reason is, essentially to protect other people you may inadvertently infect someone else. Even though you're protected. That's the reason. Now, when you get two people that are vaccinated and protected together, like in a home setting, you can have two people that you would not need to do that. We're working with the CDC right now on trying to get updated reasonable recommendations on what we can tell vaccinated people to do as you get more and more people vaccinated. But the reason why we say mask and some people don't understand that and think it's being too rigid, there will be a time when we'll know exactly whether or not a vaccinated person really has such a low level or none at all of virus in their nasal -- that will be based on data. We have some preliminary data from some Israeli studies that the level of virus of vaccinated people is extremely low, if that's the case and the future studies show that it's that low, then we'll be pulling back on some of the restrictions. You want to do it based on data, George, not on guessing. CDC experts also meeting today to see which population groups should receive priority for the vaccines. Vaccine rates for black Americans are still lagging behind white Americans. That's clear. That's one of the reasons why what the president is doing and we are seeing that through the equity task force, we're getting community vaccine centers that are being put up -- we have over 400 of them -- and we're going to designate them they go specifically in areas which demographically you see more minorities, in addition, mobile units that will be going out into the less well-served areas and then get a lot more vaccinated. We have an equity task force that's chaired Marcella nunez-smith, whose only job is to make sure we have equity in the distribution, you're absolutely correct since minority populations, particularly brown and black people, clearly have a greater risk of getting infected and greater risk of serious disease, we got to get the vaccines to them in a equitable manner. Dr. Fauci, thank you for your time and information this

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

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