'A lot of things that … would make risk less (for teachers)': Dr. Anthony Fauci

George Stephanopoulos interviews White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci on “This Week.”
6:28 | 02/14/21

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Transcript for 'A lot of things that … would make risk less (for teachers)': Dr. Anthony Fauci
We signed the final contract for 100 million more modern and 100 million more pfizer vaccines. We're also move up the delivery date with additional 200 million vaccines to the end of July, faster than we expected. That means, we're now on track to have enough supply for 300 million Americans by the end of President Biden ramping up the vaccines this week. We're joined by his chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci. Dr. Fauci, thanks for joining us this morning. I want to get to the vaccines in a moment. I know you heard that debate at the end of our roundtable about reopening schools, I wonder if you can shed some light on that. What do -- the CDC new guidelines don't require schools to reopen before teachers get vaccinated. What do you say teachers who are concerned about going back into the classroom without being vaccinated. There's a lot of layering to the mitigations, George, and I think the point to make it's totally understandable teachers' concern, we appreciate that. The issue is that there are a lot of things that can be done and they're really delineated pretty clearly in this 24-page document that you referred to in the roundtable with the guidelines that are coming out that would make the risk less and this is the first time that it's been put down in a document based on scientific observations and data over the last several months to a year, both in the United States and elsewhere. Part of that is to indicate and to suggest strongly that a preference be given to teachers to get vaccinated. So vaccinating teachers are a part of it, but it's not something that you can't open a school unless all the teachers are vaccinated. That would be optimal if you can do that, but practically speaking when you balance of getting children back to school with the fact that the risks are being mitigated if you follow the recommendations of these new guidelines from the CDC, hopefully I think that will alleviate concerns on both sides. They are guidelines but are not required. How confident are you that the guidelines will be followed and do school districts have the resources they need to reopen safely? Well, George, the second part of your question is really a good one, I think the schools really do need more resources and that's the reason why the national relief act that we're talking about getting passed we need that. The schools need more resources, the things we didn't have before, there wasn't anything that was put down solidly on paper, on saying these are the kind of things that you should consider, these are the kind of things that you should follow, there was talk about it but it wasn't actually put down in a single document that you could access the teachers, the educators and everyone else can, I think it can be done, but obviously, it's not a perfect situation. It's really important to get the children back to school in the safest way possible, safe for the children but also safe for the educators. We have breaking news, experts in the United Kingdom are now concluding that the uk variant is likely more deadly than other versions of the virus, what does the science tell you and what do we need to do about it? Well, it's pretty clear, George, what we need to do about it. The sobering news is that we have a variant that's now in the United States, no doubt, it's the 117 lineage that's dominated in the uk, the uk has studied it and they've found it transmits more efficiently from person to person that really accounted for the big surge that they had in the uk but recent studies also indicate that it's also a bit more deadly if you want to use that word, it makes people more sick and more likely to lead to serious complications. The somewhat comforting news is, the vaccine that we're now currently distributing the modern vaccine and the pfizer vaccine clearly work against the variant, and we know that from extrapolation from other vaccines. This tells us the best way to get around that and to prevent any serious consequences is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can and to double-down on the public health measures that we have spoken about on this show so many times the masking, the distancing, avoiding congregating settings, put together that with the vaccine we can confront this variant as and prevent it from taking over. There's another report this morning of the first known patient who has that reinfected after having covid before, reinfected with the south Africa variant, that person is in critical condition, what should people know about the possible risk of reinfection if they've had covid? The data that we got from South Africa is really quite sobering, the south African isolate, the 351, that lineage is more problematic than the uk one in the sense that we know less about it, whether it transmits more readily or not, but we do know that it invades the protection from the antibodies and it diminishes somewhat the capability and the effectiveness of the vaccine to block it. There's still some cushion left so that the vaccine does provide some protection against it. But the point that you made is interesting and we need to pay attention to it. In South Africa, people got infected with the original virus, recovered, and then got reinfected with this new variant, the south African variant, which tells us that prior infection does not protect you against reinfection, at least with this particular variant. Somewhat good news it looks like the vaccine is better than natural infection in preventing you from getting reinfected with the South Africa isolate. Thank you so much for joining us. We always preeshts your time and your information.

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

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